Challenge yourself during trying times

During this shelter in place time I found it harder to pick up a brush or pencil and start the process of creating.  Maybe it’s because my routine had changed and my mind was not on being creative.   Then out of the blue an idea was presented to me, one that I may never have thought if I was in my normal routine.  A few days ago a Junco flew into my window and unfortunately did not survive. It always bothers me when this happens but he was so pretty that I thought what a challenge it would be to see if I could paint a small painting of him. I had never painted a bird and certainly not on location. I quickly set up my equipment on my deck outside and placed him on a towel on a table. The challenge for me was to start painting in a new direction. Normally I start out with a concept that usually deals with a line drawing or marks to indicate my subject however this time I wanted to try a newer approach; paint just the shadow and light of my subject. This concept of seeing in a different way came to me by one of my favorite artists Kevin Macpherson. He explains in his book: Landscape painting Inside and Outside “ When light shines on a object predominately one direction, the light divides the shape into two distinct parts: light and shadow. Shadows reveal the objects form, the direction of the light and the quality of the atmosphere. If you understand this concept, you will be able to keep your shadow and light families separate and infuse your painting with light.” 

So when I painted the Junco’s underside which was white I needed it to remain in shadow and not paint it bright white. His head was jet black but it was in sunlight so I needed to paint it in the light.

Here’s an example of black in sunlight being lighter than white in shadow.

light and shadow
Light and shadow

Here is my finished study. As I look at my painting I could have painted his head in sunlight a bit lighter even though it is jet black.

I wasn’t thinking of doing a blog post when I painted this but when I do this concept again I will post photos of my progress.

Keep safe- keep well -keep creating, Linda

Oil painting Junco bird
Junco