Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Saturday, September 27, 2014

What to Paint Next?

Before getting around to showing photos of the current project, I will put up some random photos that happen to be in the same folder. Above is a bear paw print on the banks of the Eagle River.
I have posted this photo before but this is Sandy Quimby comparing her hand to the paw print of a truly massive Brown Bear along Eagle River.
A nearby Belted Kingfisher.
The Eagle River Valley in July.
The local Trumpeter Swans are currently staging for their eminent departure, as are most waterfowl. The local lakes will be frozen over in less than a month.
Although I do not enjoy painting Sea Otters, I know that it is about time to do a new painting of them. Why do I dislike painting them? Because I can never come up with an interesting composition for them. Like usual I just settled for cute, rather than creative. It will certainly sell if I can make myself paint it.
Before resigning myself to painting the Sea Otters, I came up with an alternative idea; Hudsonian Godwits. It is a less than brilliant composition as well. I would rather paint these birds than the Sea Otters. However this idea requires further development.
With a sigh of resignation I started laying down some paint to the otter painting. It is 11x14". We will see how it progresses.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Duck, Duck, Goose

My childhood friend Don sent this photo to me as an e-mail attachment. He titled the e-mail, 'Duck, Duck, Goose'. It was a good choice as a title because it fits the new painting well; as you will see.
I asked readers to imagine what combining the photo of Sandhill Cranes, and the ill-fated Canada Goose painting would look like. This is a literal interpretation of the idea. I should have stuck with that idea.
I did end up putting some Pintails in the background. This is an extreme close-up.
Most of them are sleeping.
The final version of the geese. I wish that I would have added finer brush strokes and more delicate detail to the geese.
The completed painting. It is 16x20". The actual painting has much richer colors than the photo indicates. (Typical for Blogger to fade the colors when I upload the photos)
So what happened to the cranes?
I sketched them out and started painting. Right away I realized that there was too much conflict between the cranes and the geese.  The painting was going to look too busy. The cranes had to go.
Now I repeat the title of the last post; How does this happen? 
I started out with the intention of painting waxwings. Then I changed the painting to Sandhill Cranes and decided to add Canada Geese in shadow to help frame the cranes. The cranes went away and were replaced by ducks.
My next painting is intended to be Sea Otters. It will probably end up as Giraffes, or who knows what?
Sept. 15th was the day that the Sea Lion Gallery in Homer closed for the season. Gary managed to sell this one last painting on that day. Remington Firearms put this painting on their 2014 Wildlife Calendar.
Gary sold more of my paintings in his gallery this year than he has in any other year. I have my work cut out for me to replace all those paintings for next year. Let's hope the trend continues.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

How Does this Happen?

Since finishing that Mule Deer painting I have been kicking around ideas for a new painting. Bohemian Waxwings are one of the most popular species of bird around these parts. They are difficult to find and shy during the Summer months but they are abundant and easily approached most Winters. I have many good reference photos of them. These birds have great potential to make a fine painting
I have started numerous paintings of waxwings but have completed only a few. Why? I do not know.
This 24x18" painting,'Waxwing Delight' is probably the best of them. Unfortunately it was painted on a bargain basement brand of canvas that has ripped several times so it cannot be sold.
Last week I gathered up some reference material and sketched out a new version of a waxwing painting on gessoboard. Too bad I do not have enough enthusiasm to paint it.
So I went back to the drawing board, (literally).
Next I came up with a half formed idea to paint  Sandhill Cranes at sunrise like the above photo. Of course I wanted to jazz it up somehow so I thought it might look good to put some geese in deep shadow in the foreground. The geese, being closer would need to be much larger than the cranes, and need to have a more substantial base upon which to stand. Then I pushed the cranes up closer to the top of the painting, lightened the top ground and added more land at the bottom.
I remembered this painting that I painted over in a moment of discouragement. I like the geese if not the setting so I decided to use a version of these geese in the foreground of the new painting.
Unfortunately it has been a very busy week and I am not finished with the painting. 
Try to make up an image  in your own mind about how a painting combining this painting and the crane photo above it might look. I am certain that your version will look nothing like mine. Yours will undoubtedly look much better.
Stay tuned for the next post to see how it works out. I'm kind of curious to find out how it will turn out myself.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Replacement Post

It has been a hectic week for me and next week is looking like it will be even busier. I have been trying to put together a nice post about the painting that I am currently working on. The problem is that I have not finished gathering material for the painting, nor the post that I intended to publish today.
Instead I am trying to slap together a few leftover photos from my trip to St. Paul last Summer. 
A typical view of the nesting cliffs for kittiwakes, murres, and puffins etc.
Least Auklets zipping by.
The Least Auklet nesting beach.

An almost adult, Red-legged Kittiwake next to its much more abundant and widespread cousin, a Black-legged Kittiwake.
Rock Sandpipers. Not so impressive but not easy to find without travelling to the far flung places where they congregate.
A meeting of Horned Puffins.
There were many Horned Puffins but I had a hard time getting decent photos of them. For some reason I also have a hard time doing decent paintings of them.
Tufted Puffins are easier to photograph and to paint, although this photo is not so sharp because the light was so foggy and dim.
A ground hugging plant growing in the sand.
Now I am off to dinner with friends.