Sunday, June 14, 2015

Queens Of The Back Yard

Queens Of The Back Yard
12x16, A3 

April and May were interesting months for me.  The kind of "interesting" that the old Chinese proverb curses its foes with.  I had two trips to the ER, hospitalization, many many trips to the doctor, a surgery, narrowly avoided another surgery, and massive amounts of antibiotics, the effects of which I am still recovering from in the middle of June.

But when I could, I did manage to get some things done.  One of them being this little chicken painting which was commissioned by my online friend Wammy.  You can read about how that all came about on her blog, here.

This painting was very involved and complicated, and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.  And more importantly, Wammy is thrilled with it.  I sorted through hundreds of her photos to choose ones that portrayed the personalities and some interesting poses of Wammy's beloved chickens.  I tried to match lighting (not too much directional sun, cloudy day, snow or no snow, etc) and perspective.  Wammy wanted the chicken coops in the picture too, so I needed to completely adjust the perspective on those little buildings so that I could get everyone and everything in the painting.  Wammy could tell you that I left a lot of details out! but with so many busy ladies, it could be a very overwhelming view, so I had to not put quite EVERYTHING in there.

I worked this painting completely backwards.  Everyone would tell you, work from large to small.  Big areas first, small areas and details after.  This is very good advice.  However, I did not follow it.  The reason being that I did not think I could paint a chicken.  So after spending about a week on just the layout and drawing, I picked the chicken I thought would be easiest (little blue-black Esthelle) and gave it a shot.

I was SO surprised that my first chicken looked like a chicken.  I wanted to shout the news from the rooftops, that I PAINTED A CHICKEN AND IT LOOKED LIKE A CHICKEN.  I posted it to all my friends on Facebook (believe me, I think everyone was sick of me and my chickens by the time this painting was finished).  I chose another chicken, and painted her and to my surprise, the second one worked out too!  They all worked better than I could possibly imagine, except for ONE which gave me a heap of trouble.  But I'm not going to tell you which one. ;)

So after all this incredibly detailed work on the chickens, I found myself needing to work in the background.  That is when the trouble started.  I must have reworked that background 20 times, adjusting colour and shadows and darks and lights and busyness and detail...I must have been >< this close to packing it in ten times.  But I did not think I could do all those chickens again so I had to work it out.

You can decide if it worked or not.  Wammy loves it, and I consider the whole thing a huge learning experience, very hard work, and quite an accomplishment at the end of the day.