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Old 08-28-2017, 10:16 AM
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Berry Picker -- seeking waxwing and background advice

Greetings, all!

Last winter we got to enjoy, for the first time that I remember, waxwings as they passed through our area. They devoured our berries and were quite fun to watch. My wife insisted that I paint one for her.

Waxwings are different birds, especially to paint, with their smooth transitions rather than feathered markings. That's part of their appeal, in my opinion. However, this also makes for a different type of painting compared with other birds I've attempted to paint.

I'm fairly pleased with the painting so far. However, the most troubling thing to me is the hard, dark edge around the body of the bird. It's not quite so stark in person, but the photo captures it well.



Does this distract from the subject? I also get the sense that the entire painting is a bit "flat." I've considered a light wash on the distant background (the right 1/2 of the painting behind the bird). But I don't know whether to go with a bright or dull wash. Which would help the subject more?

Any advice for these or other aspects of the painting?

I'm grateful for your thoughtful C&C.

Cheers!
Frank
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:29 AM
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Re: Berry Picker -- seeking waxwing and background advice

A nice job of drawing and painting, but it's not finished. The dark around the bird outlines the bird, and from your comments, I don't think you want that. You want the bird to stand out. To do that, mix some dark, juicy paint, perhaps a green. Paint along the dark line trying to lift a little of it at the same time. Pull the paint out into the background and soften the edges with clean water. Be very light on the brush when you go over previously painted surfaces as you could lift and muddy the area when you don't want to.
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Old 08-29-2017, 02:21 PM
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Re: Berry Picker -- seeking waxwing and background advice

What Jan said. This is a great piece but the bird would really pop out and you'd lose that outline if you darkened the background. I'd make the berry redder, too, but that's just me. Really nice job on shading the bird. We have them at our place, too, and always say they look like someone airbrushed them!
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Old 09-07-2017, 07:01 PM
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Re: Berry Picker -- seeking waxwing and background advice

Frank, I think what you need to do is create more emphasis on the bird and less on the background. Darken the tones on the bird and in the process, lift the outline around the bird. Add a few more leaves to the background and leave it at that.

Rich

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Old 09-07-2017, 10:04 PM
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Re: Berry Picker -- seeking waxwing and background advice

Thanks, all, for your helpful thoughts and advice. Rich, I like your suggestion; but I won't get the chance to try it this time as I've already made some adjustments along the lines of earlier thoughts. I'm grateful for your input, however - I respect your opinion - and talents - greatly.

Here's the current version. I think I need to darken a handful of leaves on the left side now; and it will be very close. Maybe a bit more detail on the berry in the beak?



Cheers, everyone!
Frank
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Old 09-09-2017, 07:48 PM
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Re: Berry Picker -- seeking waxwing and background advice

This last version really makes the bird stand out. Glad you finished it and it looks much better.
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Old 10-05-2017, 02:10 PM
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Re: Berry Picker -- seeking waxwing and background advice

Some great advice has led to a much-improved image. Thanks to all who helped along the way. Here is the latest and final version of The Berrypicker:



Cheers!
Frank
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