View Full Version : Merganser family

06-12-2012, 04:03 PM

Title: Merganser family
Year Created:
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 15x30
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

I took photos of these birds last year. I think I tackled a painting that is beyond my skill level. The photos were fair to poor for detail.Taking the advice I got on other paintings, I tried to vary the babies looks, hard to do when everyone of them look exactly alike. The water is so hard for me cause I don't have any photos to help me out.

Don't know if I can save this one from the burn
pile. Still working on this one, any suggestions greatly appreciated!


06-13-2012, 05:25 AM
My opinion... it's beautiful! =)) Debs

06-13-2012, 05:50 AM
Considering you have a bad photo and I assume the ducks will not come back to sit down and pose for you, then it is lovely. You have successfully accomplished different looks for the ducks with the differing beak colors and neck and back feather patterns. Water is difficult. I see two big errors - the water breaking in front of the lead small duck is nearly a point, I think it should be more curved. And I would blur the water ripples in the background a bit. Right now they are in the same focus as the foreground, and it flattens the depth a bit.

06-13-2012, 07:30 AM
Boy, you are hard on yourself. This is wonderful work and is definitely a keeper. The drafting is spot on and I love the palette- how you play off the green water against the muted reds in the ducks. If the water had been more conventionally blue, the appeal would be much less. I agree with Allison on the wave shape but I think the main way to get further improvement is to add some darks. Your value range pretty much stops at a mid gray value. Here's a photoshop where I simply extended the value range and I think it really pops.


06-13-2012, 08:42 AM
You've done a good job - I agree with tgsloth as regards bumping up the values - but I would be pretty pleased to acheive your result anyway.

Dana Design
06-13-2012, 12:45 PM
Skillfully done! You DO have the skills!

06-14-2012, 06:55 AM
Both water and making look the birds differently, are successes to me! I agree on the other comments: you certainly have the skills. If you should have wanted to do some more work on it, I would have chosen the reflections of the birds in the water. But leaving it as it is, because it's a wonderful painting, gets my full understanding as well!

06-15-2012, 10:27 AM
Debs- Thankyou for looking in and writing such nice comments!

Allison- Thankyou for pointing out the water issues, didn't see that myself.

Bob-I am a perfectionist, the goals I create for myself drive me crazy! (I have a 16 year old grandson exactly like me, poor kid! LOL)
Thankyou for your comments and photoshop, really helped!

Neil- Thankyou for commenting! I am glazing some darks into the water and working on the birds. I'll post an update.

Dana- What a sweetie you are!

Coen-Thanks for commenting! Its funny you mentioned painting the reflections of the birds in the water! I had them painted in and couldn't make them work, perhaps I should rethink reflections...

06-16-2012, 06:28 PM
the original and an update..... Sharon

06-16-2012, 09:20 PM
Burn pile?????????? Sacrilege! Gorgeously done and the foreground water is marvellous in particular. The angle of the water behind mumma bird does appear just a bit too steep? And I think your updated image is excellent. Love this work.,

06-16-2012, 11:54 PM
Hi Marie,sometimes I get so frustrated working on a painting! Spending so many hours working on a painting I can't distance myself from it to evaluate the errors. Helps so much to have work critiqued by fellow artists.
Great observation on the water! I agree with the wake comming off the hen, its a much stronger wake, suggesting a faster speed, while the rest of the water appears only sightly disturbed by the babies.
I was fortunate enough to be mentored by an award winning bird painter for a short time, learned so much from him!! The thing he said with doing this type of work was never paint anything without a reference! So guess what! Didn't listen, painted the water without a reference and of course got myself into all kinds of probems trying to imagine what the water should look like!
Anyway, thanks for looking!


06-17-2012, 02:14 AM
Wow this is quite beautiful! I love the contrasting red of the ducks and green of the water. I'm impressed that you painted the water without a reference