Sunday, November 22, 2015

Painting of an Egret

"Silent Stalker"
     The painting, "Silent Stalker", shows an egret in one of our neighborhood ponds standing motionless waiting for a frog or small fish to come within striking distance. It had been wading very slowly and (fortunately for me and my camera) then waited in utter stillness for quite some time. Unfortunately, I could not stay long enough to see it actually spear prey.

     After preliminary decisions about the composition and palette, this 12" x 16" acrylic piece on gallery wrapped canvas moved along fairly quickly whenever I worked on it. However, due to several interruptions--especially time spent working on a large sunrise painting for our son and his wife--the egret piece was set aside a couple of times.

     In some ways, it is less refined than most of my work, and I anticipated at least several more hours of work when I put it back on the easel to give myself a break from the large piece. However, after some adjustment of the shading in the egret's feathers and subtle increases in the contrast of lights and darks in the foreground, it was pleasing as it was. It hung in the studio for a few days for me to look at now and then--and still it seemed right just the way it was. Sometimes it is very difficult for me to decide when a painting is done and to avoid the temptation of refining the life out of it trying to make it "perfect". For once, deciding to stop was not too hard. 

Main reference photo
     The main reference photo reveals the minor simplifying changes I made to the composition as well as greater changes made to enhance the colors. This represents a very common scene all over our coastal North Florida region. We love our beautiful, graceful wading birds.

Question of the day: Are you ever tempted to "overdo" or to be too perfectionistic in a project of some kind?