Once in a while I like to show you a work in progress. This is a commission, and the painting that will eventually rest in the cover of an antique music box. The theme/name is to be "Trill in the Woods," and my client has some very specific requirements!
This painting will be a childhood memory of a favorite place. There's a wooded hill off to the right and a reverse curve into the distance. Birds, songbirds, all singing--as many as a dozen. There must be a field of sunflowers in the distance, and a pond with some rushes, lily pads and a frog. Late summer wildflowers, and a blackberry patch, with rich, ripe berries. All this and more on a 11"x12" panel.
First, I got out my sketch book and drew birds for a couple of weeks. Singing birds. I sketched the composition in again and again until I was satisfied that each requested item would have a place but the painting as a whole would work. I ordered some acrylic inks. Then I laid in the basics with pen and ink, which will allow me to have control of the details while still using my paint and brush to get the feel of the landscape.
I want the colors to be rich and dark, with glazes to give it depth. I want the far meadow to be in sunlight, to help you move back into the painting. I want a strong feeling of what's in sunlight and what's in shadow. I want each bird to show up against it's background, unlike nature! I want the detail to define each object while not overtaking the idea that this is a painting, not a drawing.
Acrylics allow me to "build" this painting. I can work on the parts again and again until I'm satisfied. I'm at the mid-point now, with some satisfaction with the basics but a lot of work to be done to say "finished!" The birds still have no identity or character, with others waiting to be developed. The pond accessories need to be defined. The rocks and trees need another layer of care, and the light isn't quite right yet.
I'll post an update when I'm closer.