Thursday, July 16, 2020

How This Bird From Paradise?

How can we pass by a miracle of nature such as the flower, the White Bird of Paradise, and not be moved by the wonder of genetic color manifested there?  How did this bird arrive here, how long did it take to fly through time and space to get here?  I wonder.  How did it decide to be these colors , rather than some other?
I wanted to capture some of the beauty around my own home, in the garden I have worked so hard to create.  Due to the lock down environment we are in, I am fortunate to have created a little green landscape bubble to live in, and rarely have before had the time to really enjoy and meditate on the beauty I have put before me. 
I did this large 36"x48" acrylic painting on a textured base of Utrecht gesso.  I did a crosshatch and swirl base technique with a large stiff brush on it so that it would present unforeseen sculptural anomalies to the application of color.  Texture lends a sense of the unknown, the surprising, and the abstract to the final piece.  It presents new opportunities to explore and inhabit in the color fields suggested in this magnificent creature.

Of course there is the initial sketch with charcoal.  I immediately started attacking each petal individually, but soon found that I had ignore my classical training and had skipped the preliminary ground wash on the base.  I wished I had because I was working to hard to get coverage of the white gesso.  "Kill the white" ! is the mantra, once you give the canvas a tone it sets the pace for the rest of the painting and makes the coats go down easier and more richly.

Below: Here I got wide a washed a tone of burnt sienna in over everything, thinly, 
to bring out the texture, then got on with the color again!  Lesson learned...again!

Here I was nearly finished, but for clarity I eliminated a few things and enhanced others.  You may be able to spot the slight changes in the final phase.  Play it like a kids game, spot the differences!

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