Creating the painting: SHARING IN THE HARVEST-BAUDIN’S BLACK COCKATOOS

Creating a painting starts with an idea.

During the coming August, 2019, Margaret River will celebrate the opening of the new Arts and Culture Centre (called HEART). Local artists have been invited to submit works for that celebratory event.

I wanted to produce a picture that was different to my usual efforts and one that would have a bit of wow factor- a bit of “Bing”. So I searched my picture files and out jumped the series of photos of the Baudin’s Black Cockatoo’s feeding on the grapevines at Howard park Winery in Metricup. I was excited but also a bit apprehensive at this option.

Once decided upon I then started roughing out some ideas.

Task No 1 Choosing a (Vertical) format

A vertical format was chosen initially and concept sketches produced. I roughed up some ideas on A3 paper to get a bit of ideas down on paper. I then chose the preferred option and created a concept sketch.

This first picture shows the concept sketch without any birds on it.

Concept sketch for Sharing In the harvest.jpg

Task No 2: Choose the bird postures from my photograph library

The development of a concept drawing relies upon a few things happening together. This is where the composition is developed- the most important call in creating an appealing picture.  Three drawings were developed from the photo library and each one photographed when completed.  These days I use Faber-Castell Pit Oil Base Extra Soft pencils for drawing as it provides a beautifully smooth and rich black tone. These drawings are completed on Strathmore Bristol 270gsm smooth surfaced paper which is beautiful to work on.

These drawings are free-hand works and no image projection is used.

_DSF9102_DSF9101_DSF9105

The three drawings are then photographed and printed to a size to suit the concept sketch. The prints are then cut down and placed over the concept sketch.

CONCEPT WITH BIRDS

Task No 3: Creating the Final Composition Drawing

Having settled on the general layout of the vines and background, and horizon line, the position for the three birds is determined so that pictorial balance is achieved. A final drawing is now developed of the vines ready for transfer onto the working paper.

TRACED IMAGE PRE PAINTING

Task 4 Tracing the Final Image onto the watercolour paper

The drawing of the vine was drawn directly onto the Arches 300gsm smooth paper (which 98% of my paintings are produced on). The Arches paper was stretched a day before and you can see the brown gummed paper that holds that paper to the underlying support board. No tracing was involved and just used the full sized sketch drawing as guide by laying it over the Arches paper every now and then to check position of leaves and key branches. Each bird was traced onto the paper. I use an old primary school method- rub the back of the drawing paper with soft graphite and then trace onto the Arches paper with a fine pencil point. The result is a picture that looks like the line drawing that has been created as above.

Task No 5: Painting the Picture

Nothing magic here just several days of painting.

Baudins- Sharing the HarvestWatercolour small detail of bird _D8H3837

This detail shows the key elements to the picture: bird, leaves and grapes. I used red grapes rather then white because they provided additional dynamics to the picture.

Each bird consists of about four layers of paint- lamp black, Warm Sepia, Mauve, Ultramarine Blue and Raw Umber are used to develop the feather colours. Each feather is painted to obtain a graded tone to represent the contours of that feather. Final detailing is added to give highlight and pale edges (umber tinted titanium white) with Lamp Black breaks to the feather edges for realistic visual impact. This painting was completed over 12 days- includes drawings and painting (about 60 to 70 hours).

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