Monday, 22 February 2010

Canadian Artist, Carole Barkett, writes about some very challenging Bluebirds!

When asked by Judy to do a guest artist article for this blog, I was thrilled, then I wondered what to write about. For a while, I tried to find new images that would inspire me to paint but that's hard when you're working and running a household and family, as many artists do, and of course the more you want to paint something, the harder it is to settle down and actually do it.

My last painting was the Magpie family but it all came together so quickly, there was nothing to talk about, then....I decided to paint Bluebirds.

I quickly realised that my past paintings were based on my knowledge of a particular animal or bird. Although we have Bluebirds here, and I've seen their nestboxes on almost every fencepost, I've had no luck seeing one and because I haven't, a few problems developed in the painting process.

I searched my stockpile of reference pictures until I found ones that looked great. After hours of sketching and rearranging, I finally had what I was looking for and was satisfied. I painted the picture and scanned it. The painting still looked pretty good at this point; then I uploaded it to Zazzle bluebird had a moustache. He doesn't in my picture but he does in my uploaded one, as you can see below:


I don't know where this moustache comes from except that I lose a lot of the lighter colours in the process of uploading, so that area looks white when it isn't.

Back to the drawing board I went, but it can be impossible to fix watercolour. The more you work on it, the muddier the colours get and soon it's ruined. Well, that's exactly what happened to this one. I tried playing around with photo editing but that only made it worse as you can see.

I think most of my problems come from never having seen a Bluebird so I was never sure if what I was painting was quite right and I kept having to check my reference pictures which rules out any creative thought.

I guess I'll go out birding this summer and wait for a real one to study, unless....I can find one on Youtube.

If I'm successful, you'll see it on and if you want more background stories on my other paintings, you can check out my blog.


JudyAdamsonArtandDesign said...

Thank you for writing about your experience, Carole. BTW, I actually think your bluebirds are great, especially the ones without the moustaches! I've never actually seen a bluebird but I think you are being a bit hard on yourself! They look so soft and fluffy you want to touch them!

Mary Anne Cary said...

Looks like spring there! Wish I was there! Love the birds!