View Full Version : eagle in oil pastels

irene clark
01-26-2000, 07:33 PM
Hi there,
This is 16x24 painting done mainly in oil pastels. You've probably noticed by now that I like my main subject up close and personal.
The chalet by the glacial lake below is my dream retirement home. Well hey, I can dream can't I?
What do you think?
Thanks so very much for your interest. I'm making great strides in regards to improvement since registering with this forum. Advice given to others as well as myself has not only improved my technique, but maybe even more importantly, my self confidence.
Thanks a million,
Irene Clark with a heart for art.
<a href="http://www.finearts.yorku.ca/kclark/hart/">Heart to H-ART - Irene Clark</a>


[This message has been edited by irene clark (edited January 26, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by irene clark (edited February 20, 2000).]

Phyllis Rennie
01-26-2000, 09:18 PM
I'm bothered by the fact that the shape and size of the mountain so closely resembles the shape and size of the bird.

01-27-2000, 12:29 AM
Excellent job on the eagle! Excellent foreshortening on the left wing too. That's a difficult pose.

The bottom part of the background shows good distance, but the top didn't get across that same feeling of height and distance. I agree with Phyllis about the shape of the mountain, though I'm not sure I would have recognized that as the problem without her post. If the eagle were half in front of mountain and half sky, I think it would have worked better, but certainly the mountain should not follow the contour of the eagle so closely.

But that's fairly minor. I like it!


01-27-2000, 12:42 AM
Probably since I raise birds and observe them closely several hours a day, I'm concerned about the eagle. First the size of the eagle's beak. It's as long as his head and too thick. Also the bottom beak is longer than the top, when in reality it is shorter. Look at some photos of hooked bill birds and you will see the lower beak actually fits inside the upper beak. My other concern is the feathers. In the wing below the head, they can't curve that way. Bird feathers are staight as an arrow...I have enough feathers here to build myself another parrot...LOL. On the other wing the feathers look like they're growing in the wrong direction and squared off. When a bird is in flight, it's feathers point away from the body, out to the sides, not back towards the tail.
I do like your treatment of the land and sky. Sometimes with an ariel view it's hard to show distance as well as height and I think you've captured that nicely. Nice use of color too!


01-27-2000, 08:25 AM
Beautiful painting Irene!
I agree with Phyllis. The first thing that caught my eye as a problem area was the parallell mountain and the sunset. I think it works like this; the eye is attracted to the head of the eagle (main focus), and then follows the body of the bird. Since the mountain is parallell the eye is distracted and starts to follow it instead of the bird - the eye movement along the mountain is stopped by the setting sun. There is no easy way back to the main focus area, my eye move along the right edge down to the chalet(?), then via the wings back to the head.

I would work on the mountain shape, and setting sun to enforce the main focus.

irene clark
01-27-2000, 11:02 AM
Henrik, I don't quite understand the problem with the mountain shape. I thought it framed the eagle and made it stand out more. Should I make them larger or smaller? I think maybe smaller so the eagle is framed by more blue sky and how about some clouds.I will tone down the sunset, it really is a bit much, I tend to get carried away with them. Or, here's a thought. Leave the mountain as is and move the sunset to behind the peak. That would frame the eagles head and make it stand out more. What do ya think?Thanks for your kind input Henrik.
Irene Clark with a heart for art.

[This message has been edited by irene clark (edited January 27, 2000).]

irene clark
01-27-2000, 11:08 AM
Thanks Randy. I'm still not convinced the mountain shape takes away from the eagle. I feel it's faded enough behind the more vivid colours of the bird to not draw ones eyes away from the main subject. Besides, my retirement chalet might be overlooked otherwise.

irene clark
01-27-2000, 11:19 AM
Hi there,Gisela. (that's my Grandmas name,don't hear it very often)
Thanks for pointing out the beak problem, I can see it now. Especially when I went back to the photograph. Don't know how I missed that, it's so obvious,considering I used a magnifying glass to get close to the finer details, including the feathers. As you suggested, I took a close look in my Peterson Guide Book and see what you mean about the feathers in flight. Perhaps the photograph shows the wings in transition in mid flight. Otherwise, how could that be? I'll be more careful in future to study other sources. My 2nd eagle will definitely be studied better before the next painting.
Thanks very much for your help.
Irene Clark with a heart for art.

[This message has been edited by irene clark (edited January 27, 2000).]

01-27-2000, 01:28 PM
Irene, my ramblings about eye-movement did perhaps not come across; I don't know if you think in these terms?

There is a demonstration (the "waterfall in acrylics" (I think it was) that talkes a bit about "leading the eye".

A mental exercise is to think about the painting as a pin-ball machine and the movement of the eye as the ball - the ball will move freely in some areas, but bounce back and forth in other sections. If there is a line (railing in the real machine), the ball will follow it. In our imaginary "painting-ball machine" there will also be magnets; the bright/colorful "attention grabbing" stuff.

I'll try to paint in the eye movement (as I see it [sic]) on your painting and post it later.

On the sunset; maybe move it to the left of mountain and make it much smaller - I think that will also be more in line with the rest of the lightning (the mountain has a shadow on the same side as the setting sun now - that seems strange).

01-27-2000, 05:42 PM
Here is the original with (my) eye movement painted on.


Here is a modified version of your painting

I have made these (somewhat sloppily performed) edits:

- mountain is gone http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/eek.gif (some mountains should be added I think since now there is half sky and half land - that doesn't look so good).
- moved sunset to the left
- darkened the overall landscape as I think there should be long cast shadows with the sun being so low
- darkened some areas on the eagle since it is backlit
- added slightly more rimlight on lower left of eagle
- darkened the area around the eagles head to make it look brighter and stand out more.
- modified the shape of the water behind the chalet since I thought it interfered/ran-into the wing. It also suffered a bit of mimicing part of the eagle in shape (like the mountain did).

I am not claiming that this makes the painting better, but I think it demonstrates the eye-movement thing. Now the eye is attracted to the sunset and is led straight to the eagles eye. The pinball bouncing effect of the paralellism between mountain and eagle's back is now gone. Drawing the eye movement on the modified version is left as an exercise http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

Bruce Rohrlach
01-27-2000, 06:40 PM
Hi Irene ! Interesting - I feel the sunset is an IMPORTANT part of this piece. It gives the ooomph to this painting by contrasting and fitting nicely with the dark sombre blues and greens. I have no disagreement with the slightly distorted shape of the eagles head principally because this painting portrays more of a mood to me than realism, and the distorted shape of the head and the dark blanket-like "hook-shaped" wing at the back, even tho not technically correct in shape - add a lot to the "purposeful and menacing intelligence" look of the eagle ??

I like the rendering of the feathers on the front wing - but agree with Henrik's changes to the water inlet. I see the effectiveness of the "rim-light" idea - (re- my earlier post on Footballer trout).

irene clark
01-27-2000, 06:44 PM
Thanks a million Henrik,
Seeing is believing. Once again you've been a big help. Much appreciation.
Irene[QUOTE]Originally posted by henrik:

irene clark
01-27-2000, 06:55 PM
Hi Bruce,
Thanks for cheering on the sunset, I do love them. That's probably why I'm never quite sure if I lose control when recreating them. I must confess that the original photograph didn't have one and thats how I managed to mess up the shadows, putting them on the wrong side of the mountains. The eagle, other than its beak is a clear copy.
Thanks for your gentle critque.
Irene Clark with a heart for art.

01-27-2000, 07:05 PM
Ditto on the sunset. I liked that very much from the start. The cintrast froma all the other colors. I'm a bit of a freak for sunsets. I do a lot of them myself.