Saturday, February 12, 2011


61x46cm, oil on board

Finished my paradise bird. Not completely what I wanted, but it never is.... I learned a lot with this painting and it's my first kind of "old masterish" painting, using thin layers of paint to slowly build up the shapes, shades and colors, and careful pencil studies done in preparation of the painting. Next painting I'm going to use oil in the underlayers to add some more depth to the painting. I like my composition, the bird's pose which was made (I hope convincingly) from a couple different drawings of the real stuffed bird, and the landscape which I made up completely. I'm a little unsatisfied with the coloring of the sandstone or whatever it is. I do however like the darker cliff like part to the sandstone at the bottom of the picture. I think my bird is pretty enough, and proudly posed, and I like my pile of rocks. I especially like the rock with the squiggly white stripe which reminds me of a snake adding a little biblical quality to the picture, i.e. beautiful assumes ugly, good assumes evil, paradise assumes the imperfection of right now. The snake-in-rock wasn't planned but was a happy accident, which accidents always happen in a painting if you keep going for a certain feeling. I think the desert landscape also fits the sense of the picture, as its harsh plain beauty contrasts well with the rich luxuriant beauty of the paradise bird. Above is the full painting and closeup photographs, because although a painting is always it's whole self it is also, when you are looking at it, a collection of details (at least that is the way I look at paintings).

BTW that's a pearl next to the rock pile. I though I'd put something beautiful AND valuable in there to highlight the disconnection between beauty in it's non-tradable form (a sunset, a wild animal, a cool rock) and beauty that we can put a price on like a pearl, or a diamond, etc.

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