Sunday, November 27, 2011

Egret - Laying the Foundations

As the idea for this painting nagged at me intermittently over several months and became more clearly defined, I came to the view that the unusual arrangement of the bird demands that its escape route not be blocked by a frame of any kind, hence my choice of a "gallery wrap" canvas.

To accentuate the egret's upward momentum, I've aligned the edge of the rock face immediately behind the bird with the bird's left leg and angled it similarly to provide a more or less unbroken vertical path through rock, leg and bird. I've also manipulated slightly the angle of the broken branch below the bird to mirror the angle of this line thereby suggesting an upwards-pointing "arrow" shape which (I hope) contributes further to the illusion of vertical movement. The small elongated highlight in the rock towards the lower edge of the canvas extends and reinforces this inverted "V" shape as do several other lines and edges, the most noticeable of which are defined by the bird's tail feathers and the margins of its wings. Whether these design elements add to the effectiveness of the overall composition I'll leave to you to decide. For the most part, they were already present in the reference photographs; I've simply adjusted their placement and will try to draw attention to those I feel are helpful in the design sense.

Hopefully, the image together with the explanation I've offered above begin to convey what it is I'm trying to accomplish with this painting. I'm in no way seeking to promote myself as any kind of authority where matters of composition are concerned; I trust, however, that providing some insight into my thought processes is of some interest.

I'm still reacquainting myself with oil paints having switched to acrylics many years ago, but I have managed to delve into the dark, dusty recesses of my mind to reawaken memories of basic oil painting techniques, including the idea of a monochrome under-painting - my next milestone.

Having just moved house, most of my spare time seems to be taken up with domestic chores, however, the prospect of establishing a workspace solely for art is spurring me on, the promise being that I can leave my painting paraphernalia set up and readily accessible, unlike my previous situation where I was forced to commandeer the kitchen bench space between meal times!        

More soon.



Scott D. Tillett said...

Hi Peter....really like your unusually composition. Good to see you pushing the envelope. More artist (myself included) should do more of that. Keep your detail high on the bird and low on the rocks so the attention is mainly on your intended target, the bird. The broken branch pointing towards the bird vertically is a nice touch, this will help give lift to your composition. Also, I would keep your cooler colors toward the bottom and warmer colors towards the top. The eye is naturally attracted to warmer colors first. Glad to hear your back to oils again. I'm glad I switched. Really nice start Peter. You really have a lot of thought in this one:)

Peter Brown said...

Scott, this is just the kind of constructive response I'm hoping for - thanks so much.

Julia Ruffles | fine artist said...

Hello Peter, this'll be great! I can already see the balance in the composition, and can feel the flight, I look forward to seeing it develop, Jules

Peter Brown said...

Thanks for visiting Julia. If it's even half as good as your recent paintings, I'll be very happy indeed!