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?


  1. Mary, this is a very nice piece. Like you, I always wonder if I should fuss some more! Sometimes freshness trumps more detail.

    Thanks for your nice comments about my collages. I am about to write a post with two more that I did in a workshop with Derek Gores, the person who taught me the technique.

  2. Thank you, Mary. I like the way you expressed the priorities "Sometimes freshness trumps more detail." I appreciate your visit and your insightful reflection on the day's question.

  3. Mary, thanks for this post (I'm late in looking). I often overdo. Your idea of letting it rest for a while is a great one. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. I like the eqret it is very nice photo. I hope you and your husband have a great christmas. And a happy new year in 2016!

  5. Jo, it is encouraging to hear that you can overdo as well. Your work conveys such vitality and freshness, that I wouldn't have guessed that you feel some tendency to overwork. Thanks for visiting, and have a wonderful, creative New Year!

    Hi Anon, I appreciate your good wishes. You have a happy 2016 also.

  6. Are you going to have a openhouse again in 2016 show your painting. I hope you will have a openhouse again and show all of your painting. Because i love all of your painting very much.