Monday, January 18, 2010

Big Bird Demo

This will be my first painting using a bird as the primary subject in about 10 years! I have decided to post the steps along the way. In my mind, this is insane because it could be a total failure. Taking risks is what being an artist is all about however... So please join me in my 'risky business', painting a large bird, the Great Egret. I'm calling him 'Big Bird'. That keeps me away from my ornithologically geared past, and instead I have in mind the creative people on Sesame Street. ;-) They had so much fun, and I intend to also.


This first photo is of a couple of small color comps that I did mostly for placement, trying to decide if I wanted this egret front and center in the composition, or setting back into the picture plane. At first I thought that I wanted the bird to set back into the composition, to be more a part of the landscape, not a portrait. I was slightly hesitant to confront an egret that is about half life size on a 30"x40" canvas at first. But the more that I have thought and planned the more confidence I'm gaining in my ability to pull this off. My final composition is now closer to the sketch on the right and I'm happy with that placement.



Big Bird! (temporary title:)... 30x40 on RIX oil primed linen... First wash in just to map out placement.

22 comments:

Connie Miller said...

I love them all and applaud your sharing of the process in your blog.
I like the first one for the "rests" that the large areas of water provide. It gives it a totally peaceful feeling.
Beautiful work, Marc!

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Connie. Yes, I like them both and will most likely paint a version of both ideas and others too. Florida gave me a huge amount of inspiration to work with these guys, the Ibis, Roseate Spoonbills, and all of the other gorgeous bird life there. Thanks again.

Kami Polzin said...

This is great Marc. I'm so happy to see you paint this beautiful 'big bird', :) I like the placement of the bird and the subtle, soft light, it's a very intimate look at nature. It's a treat for all to see it through your eyes.
Cant' wait to see more! Keep paintin' painter! :)
Kami

Elizabeth McCrindle said...

I love both as well and I'm glad too hear you plan to do both....I'm eagerly awaiting :)

The Windrush Gallery said...

Love the energy, the anticipation! Very nice piece. Let me know when you can send me some images. Thx, John

Deb Kirkeeide said...

I'm liking this very much - even at this early stage. It must be fun to make a departure (or in this case, back to your "roots") in subject.
I've really been seeing a lot of expansion in your painting lately - ever since your Mexico trip.
Wonderful work!

Nancy Medina said...

Nice work Marc - I like that this guy is creating a wake. : )

Marc R. Hanson said...

Will do Kami! :) The plan is a cool background that just shows the warmth of the top of the weeds in the reflection, with some blades of the grasses being hit by sun. That's the plan... Thanks. :)

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Elizabeth. We'll see...

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thank you John. Thanks for wanting some! ;-) Won't be long.

Marc R. Hanson said...

It is Deb, fun to depart. And yes, Mexico was an enlightening and artistically uplifting experience in every way. Florida has given me a new outlook on using birds in paintings. I'll see where that takes me. I've painted many, many yards of linen since last painting a major bird painting. I'm interested in seeing if it makes a difference in how I approach the subject, or do I go right back into the mode I was in before? I don't know yet.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thank you Nancy.
And I neglected to say 'Thank you' Deb, Thank you.

Nancy good eyes. These birds were at the Myakka River State Park. The river flows at a pretty good clip. While the egret was in stride, it wasn't moving fast enough to do that if not for the flow of the river.

Claire Beadon Carnell said...

Thanks for showing your process. I am really liking the soft sunlight that is striking the bird and adding to the atmosphere. Can't wait to see the next step!

Robin Roberts said...

We've got our eyes on you here and eagerly awaiting the next step. Looking good so far. I am just at the finishing stage of a bird painting myself. A ring-necked pheasant. Trying to decide if I'm finished. Which probably means I should be. Have fun.

RR

Ben Bauer said...

marc, sweet to see some chagne up and back to the Wild Wings days ah!

Maybe a timberdoodle in the hill city area of mn next?

or cans on lake pepin, swans at riecks lake, ok Ill stop.....

I am seeing alot of these in TX too, along with Ring bills galore on the man made ponds and resiviors here in the Dallas area, may even try to get to Collectors Covey one day....

B

Eugene Veszely said...

G'Day Marc

You could stop right where you are and sell it as it is. :-)

rahina q.h. said...

lovely work but i have to say i love the brushwork and colours you used in the two sketches:)

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Claire. By now you've probably seen the latest post. I've wiped down that linen, re-primed with white lead and am about to stretch up a new 30x40 to start this all over again.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Robin. You are probably right about that... 75% done is usually done enough. :-)

Marc R. Hanson said...

Ben... wouldn't go that far! But it's good to work with the subject matter with a different perspective. Enjoy Dallas.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thank you Eugene. I can.... oh boy!!! :)

Marc R. Hanson said...

Rahina (lovely name)... Thank you for your thoughts. I know... the mystery of fifteen minutes of brush work vs 'who knows how many days' is hard to compare isn't it?

I hope to keep some of that same mystery, but make the painting a lot more than just what's on the surface of the two little studies.

Always an adventure. This one starting a little rocky, but will work itself out I'm confident.