Painting – The One That Got Away…

Prints available here.

 I give myself creative challenges, and I never make it easy. Isn’t that what best friends are for?

Challenge; paint something bright, colourful, with very little detail, (ahhh!) and action filled. Okay, I love action. Think “Matrix” moment, when all the action becomes still and it’s a super slow motion sequence. Therefore, we have the colourful Kingfisher exploding out of the water with his catch…..but yikes!
Not quite.

I began with a simple background that reflected only colour and texture. This was already challenging for me, where are the trunks of the trees? The detail on every little leaf?  Walk away…..breathe.

I imagined the foliage along a river or lake, with bright irises, and dabbed these colours in a crosshatched fashion.

Here came the difficult part of the challenge to myself; trying to use very little detail. I am a detail-aholic. It’s been 17 hours since I last painted any detail, and that’s only because I have been transcribing a really interesting manuscript. This painting is my attempt at detoxing and finding a balance. Anyhow, I can’t help myself from getting deep into a painting like its a moment in creation itself. My desire to make it look so real that it could come alive and fly out the door can be very determined. Deep breaths. For this painting I was determined to forgo detail cold-turkey. I focused on loose strokes, and the only detail allowed would be the kingfishers eye and long, strong beak. Only that.

Adding the water was next. By the way, kingfishers have excellent depth perception, and a protective membrane that covers their eyes as they dive into the water to spear their catch. Again and loosely, I sloshed on what I imagined as the exotic background water, and added a big splash as the kingfisher surfaces from its underwater dive. But…..where’s the fun? What is the point of this image? I thought of the kingfisher capturing his prey, all puffed up and confident nailing fish number 35 of the day, and then what should happen? The little fish wriggles out of the kingfishers grasp and sails back into fishy freedom! Now you see, I have been playing a lot of chess by text recently, so that fact… just might have something to do with the “escape desire” in my creative process, (I keep getting completely thrashed)!

After painting a non-detailed fish, yay to our escapee! (think Papillon), I added some glazing to deepen the darks, and tone down the white of the splashes. The brightest whites needed to stay on the kingfisher.

I did it, I painted loosely and only added a small amount of detail. My youngest son said it looked very detailed……I told him to text me his next chess move.

If you have made it this far, thank you for joining me on this journey!

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