I’ve been mentioning a big commission that I’ve been working on since late November. Finally this past Sunday I put the finishing touches on it and am ready to share it with you. The client’s idea was to show four stages of a great blue heron lifting into flight, all on one canvas. He wanted the birds to be large enough to see detail and yet small enough so they didn’t look crowded.
First I’ll share a slide show that of the painting in progress:
As you can see, I started with a warm underpainting that would unite all that came after. I painted in the subsequent layers as energetically and freely as I could, only gradually bringing in closer attention to detail. By the second image, I began laying in the sky and the darkest shadows of the mangroves behind the herons. Lighter colored vegetation is layered on top of this as you come forward. There were times when I wished I’d started a bit more mathematically, as I was honestly in suspense the whole time as to whether all four birds would fit on the canvas. It is a large painting, 48″x30″. Steve, I’ll bet you would have measured and calculated how large each one needed to be and drawn them in with pencil first! :). But that isn’t me. I’m a jump in with both feet and figure it out as I go kind of artist.
And here is the finished piece:
My friend and client is happy with it, so I’ll be varnishing it today and then shipping it off. It has been a huge undertaking but I’m really pleased with the results.