View Full Version : Royals

Jeff Connell
11-19-2015, 11:50 PM

Title: Royals
Year Created:
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 36 X 48
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

I got some good photos of Royal Spoonbill last July. With Goya's "Family of Charles IV" in mind I conceived the idea of composing a royal family portrait of these regal but rather odd looking birds. Using bits of many of the photos, plus others of the setting, I painted this over about a month.

Does it work a a "Royal family portrait"?

11-20-2015, 01:57 AM
Does it work as a "Royal family portrait"?

Yes indeed, it is a "Royal family portrait". Your painting is beautiful. :)

11-20-2015, 02:13 AM
glad i looked, very nice work
an improvement might include you pushing the depth more with softening of the edges as they progress to the distance, everything seems pretty crisp and if in fact it is equally crisp everywhere you've taken away a huge opportunity to provide miles and miles of visual depth here. given the skill set to produce this i expect you may have intentionally made it all sharp, your style perhaps and if so, very nice work.


11-20-2015, 08:06 AM
Wow, what a nice painting... Add it to the animal & wildlife forum :)

11-20-2015, 12:25 PM
I really admire how sharp and vivid this is! Stunning. I definitely think these birds look royal.

11-21-2015, 04:55 PM
You have done a marvelous work on the feathers!! Everything is wonderful.

Bodhi Peace
11-21-2015, 05:39 PM
I think it maybe works as Royals.
But that would be more clear with crowns on all of them.

Dana Design
11-22-2015, 12:14 PM
Spectacular painting! Exceedingly well done!

11-22-2015, 10:31 PM
Great work! I love the "roundness" of the shapes that you have going as a unified style. One very small thing that I feel could be de-emphasized for a stronger composition is the pathway and pathway's reflection in the water which forms a backward "C" shape near far-viewer-right of the canvas.

11-23-2015, 02:28 AM
Lovely detail Jeff.
A bird we share across the ditch.

Jeff Connell
11-26-2015, 07:32 PM
Thank you all for your comments. I enjoy doing detail, probably too much. But I did want the birds to be realistic, so I paid careful attention to the difference between the flight feathers and the more downy breast feathers. The strong shadows cast across the birds by the low July sun, were essential for rounding the forms. I used the standard technique of tinting the feather shadows blue where they faced the sky and grey-brown where they faced the ground, even though these effects were barely discernible in the photographs.

Jeff Connell
11-26-2015, 07:38 PM
..and RCharleston you are dead right about the right hand curve and its reflection. Not only is it a distraction but the reflection is too low!

01-05-2016, 12:35 PM

01-05-2016, 06:40 PM
Most excellent. I see the above point, about more softness in the distance. That might not be important if the environment is arid.

As I like to moan, (1) The sky does not need to be blue, just blue enough. (2) Green foliage does not need to be green, just green enough. (3) Brown land does not need to be brown, just brown enough. Your painting makes all these points very well, with the muted colors relieved by the birds.

01-07-2016, 08:58 AM
Beautiful work! You are obviously very skilled and experienced. The level of detail and realism you've achieved is amazing, especially considering that the painting still feels fresh and unlabored overall. Bravo!

Since you are experienced, and can probably take it, I'll offer a couple of areas for improvement:

1. I agree with the previous points about the depth issue. You should try to push the background back. You can do so while keeping the sharpness, using atmospheric perspective instead. Look at works of Breugel and Raphael for examples of this. Basically use less contrast in the background, and mix in some sky colors.

2. Your overall composition has three, fairly equal horizontal strips. This does not help lead the eye around much. If, for example, the water was about 1/3 of its current height, and the birds crossed up into the hills, it would create a lot more opportunities for the eye to go back and forth between the planes.

3. The beak of the third bird from the right aligns awkwardly with the neck of the bird in the background. It looks like there is a crescent halo around the beak. The third bird from the left is a bit off balance. I think its foot needs to be further over to the left, so it sits more in the center of the mass of the body.

Hope this is helpful. Again, beautiful work! Can't wait to see more of your paintings.

01-07-2016, 11:12 AM
So beautiful done! I love it!