Thursday, October 25, 2012

Autumns's Last Leaves

Last week on my way back from my morning run, just as the sky was beginning to lighten, I saw two crows sitting in the very top of a large almost leafless maple tree.  Their outline was very striking against the pinkish orange morning sky.  One crow was facing east, the other west.  They were sitting there so quite,  it made me wonder what they were thinking on that beautiful autumn morning.  The image of those two crows stayed with me and I knew I had to paint my own version.

Autumn's last leaves
Autumn's Last Leaves

I struggled a bit with this one.  I started out painting it exactly like I saw it, but I always run into problems when I do that.  It felt boring, blah, and as if something were missing.  I then had to remind myself that I don't and shouldn't try to paint it just like I saw it.    When I try to paint more realistic, my paintings tend to tighten up and I'm never satisfied with the results.   I need to remind myself to loosen up and play with it.  
I'm still not sure if I'm finished with this piece yet.  I've been looking at it all week trying to figure out what it needs.  Yesterday I realized I hadn't put the leg on the crow.  It was amazing how a simple little bird leg made such a big difference!  I paint on watercolor paper and always start a piece by penciling the size of my painting on it.   Like this one is 11 x 14 on 12 x 16 paper.  So I end up with white around the edges that aren't part of the painting.  Usually I don't find this very distracting, but with this painting I did and after I cropped it off in Photoshop, I was really surprised  by how much more I liked it.    I think a little time away from it is needed, which thankfully the kids and I are going to my parents for the weekend.  We are going to go see "How to Train Your Dragon" on Saturday in Milwaukee with grandma and my nephews.   It's a live show with huge animated, flying, fire-breathing dragons!  How could we pass that up? 

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