In the artistic sense I've tended to be risk-averse in the past and the subject of this painting is therefore a departure from my usual "safe" choices. From the point of view of my willingness to trust my artistic instincts and cheerfully confront the possibility that many viewers are likely to scratch their heads and ask themselves, "what on earth was he thinking?", it marks a significant advance in my evolution as an artist - whether the painting itself is judged a success or not. Less significantly, it will be the first oil painting I've attempted in many years.
At an intuitive level, before I'd had time to ponder too much on its suitability as a painting subject, I was drawn to the possibilities offered by the photograph that serves as the painting's inspiration; I love the translucency of the egret's wing and the bird's dramatic attempt to escape the confines of the image boundaries which, although a little disconcerting in the context of this painting, would seem to be entirely in keeping with its natural inclinations. After a prolonged period of procrastination during which I was frequently inclined to discard the idea entirely, I'm finally committing to the project and placing my faith in my initial positive reaction to what was really an accidental photograph. The shot that preceded it by a few seconds was far more conventional and depicts a very well-behaved egret prior to lift off; it may well feature here as a painting at some point too - perhaps after I've fallen flat on my face with this one and have reverted to my typically reserved self!
While I've managed to remain true to the original idea, I will combine and manipulate elements from several photographs as a means of arriving at what I hope will be a pleasing overall design. I'll be very interested to hear your reactions as the work progresses; as always, I invite you all to be as brutal in your assessment as you feel is necessary!