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Mallard Trio

30 Jan

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These birds are the most abundant and widely distributed waterfowl species in North America. Although common, I think they are uncommonly handsome – don’t you.  Take the drake for instance, who would deny the iridescence of his head to be less than magnificent? With his striking white-collar and white pin tail tips.  Dapper Dabbler Ducks!

And then there is the uncelebrated mallard hen by comparison.  Various shades of brown leaning towards warm orange, yellowish orange bill upturned in a perpetual smile.  I have actually painted many more hens than drakes over the years.  Just because.

Back to this composition… when all the duck photos I took did not line up quite the way I envisioned for the Ducks in a Row idea, I decided that this would be better as three separate companion paintings.  Still love the title Ducks in a Row  – but it does not really work anymore.  Mallard Trio is as good as I got.  I love the attitude of ducks.  They are confident and almost always look as if they have a secret they are not sharing.  The perpetual upturn at the edge of their bill and the well, their cheeky cheeks!  Of course, I personify them.  They make it so easy to do.

And if you have a better name – I am open…..

 

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Dapper Dabbler

22 Jan

As part of the Ducks in a Row Series (apparently) I had taken this photo of a mallard drake just kind of strutting his stuff among the flock.  He has a look of pride that I found to be irresistible.  A Mr Look at Me Now –kind of duck strut.  Standing tall and proud.

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What I found to be quite amusing was settling on a title for this  – Do the Duck Strut, Dapper Drake, Mr Handsome, Duck Strut, Dapper Drake Dabbler.

Mallards are a dabbler ducks after all!

And here is likely why I love ducks.  My Mother used to sign this song to me as a child… and I have sung it with my children!  Very happy memories… my daughters added the quacking 🙂

Little ducky dawdle

Went wading in a puddle

Went wading in a puddle so small – says he it does not matter

How much I splash and splatter

For I’m just a duckie after all

Quack quack

Sitting Duck

14 Jan

Awhile back, I started another watercolor painting that I was laying out and referring to as Ducks in a Row, working from various source photos.  As I laid out the painting one duck at a time, I began to realize that some of my favorite photos of specific ducks would not fit well into the group composition.  Such was the case of my Sitting Duck.  If I layered her in,  you would miss her backside and the neat perspective.  So I decided she would have to be a stand, er sit alone painting.

Sitting DuckThis particular painting took forever and was pure joy to work on and see it develop.  Ducks make me happy.  Their round cheeks and happy, almost smiling bill make me smile.  To draw and paint them is absolute fun!       On to the next one Dapper Dabbler and back to Ducks in a Row (which may be renamed soon)!

This photo shows the painting darker than she really is.

 

 

Sitting Duck and Ducks In A Row Update

31 Dec

When I first began to paint “Ducks In a Row”, I envisioned a loose flowing painting – until I actually started to draw the ducks out.  I now have completely switched gears.  Highly detailed and intricate, using the tiniest of brushes and my best sables!  And I am having so much fun. What I first thought would be a large watercolor full of mallards has become three paintings of various sizes that work well together!  I am working from several photos that simply do not lend themselves to combining into one larger composite painting. So I decided to still paint them all – but separately! (this way if I mess up all is not lost 🙂 )

IMG_4209This the progress showing on the original Ducks In a Row painting!

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One Duckie Two Duckie Slow Duckie – WIP

9 Dec

And slow I go….     I left in the reference photos so you can get the idea  of where I am going with this.  I love the photos with all the  ducks in a row. It is just the ducks with the most personality were photographed separately. The decision of where to place which duck has taken me quite a time to decide.   I mapped them pout loosely in my sketchbook and then changed my mind again and again.  Just have to wait and  see where the next duck will be.  I do know which duck will be last though – he is walking away from the row – he seems to have an attitude.

And at this point, I have no  real plan for the background.IMG_4127

I am loving the colours of the drake – he was so much fun to paint…so far!  The pallet for his is below IMG_4126

Ducks in a Row – WIP

25 Nov

It is no secret. I love ducks

Every few years I go on a duck painting marathon.  They make me smile.  With their round and full cheeks and happy bills, they are simply delightful to draw and paint.  This time around, I am working in watercolour.  Previous work was always in acrylics.

One day, when were out for a drive to see what I could shoot, we came upon a ferry landing that was covered with ducks.  Apparently, somehow the ducks know they are safe from hunters at the ferry  landing.  But I got some great shots.  Some were in the water while others basked in the sunshine, warming themselves on the asphalt and rocks.

The inspiration photo has an interesting perspective -below.  As I was shooting it I was thinking “he he heeee” ducks in a row.  Well it stuck.  The ducks in this painting will have come from individual duck photos I took and I will place them …well… in artistic order.  Hoping to heaven I can capture the perspective I am aiming for.

 

Late August acrylic seascape arrived safe & sound in Vancouver

24 Nov

This was a bit of a nail biter.  I paid the premiums with Canada Post to get the painting there quickly.  Two days after we expected it to arrive there was still no sign of the painting at its destination. I then checked the tracking number.  And they indicated it arrived two days earlier.  Just not to who I shipped it to.  Holy crap!!!  The building super had it – signed for it.  Just did not tell anyone!  Anyway, the new owners were able to track it down and now have the painting in their home . Phew.

The colours in this photo are a bit off – painting is not quite this blue and the grasses are more vibrant and are more golden orange. The lower resolution photo in this posting altered the colours.

Update # 3 Late August Completed!!!

12 Nov

So this is an interesting way to post a Work in Progress.  I can no longer show you the complete completed work….until I deliver it!  They would like to be surprised and see it in person first.  I can share the grasses have a wonderful orangey glow and you can almost feel their movement in the wind.  There are some brushy grass in the near front that were fun to paint and add much to the depth of the painting.   I discovered a new colour in acrylic  – nickle Azo Yellow.  Really have to be careful with this one – a little goes a long way – and I mean  a long way.   Almost as bad (as good?) as Payne’s Grey

The colours of the ocean waves include a mauvey glow and cerulean blues.   The waves and ripples have  dark areas that were developed with Payne’s Grey.  The cresting waves have a hint of a golden glow.   The beautiful colours of late August.

I will spend the next two or three days staring at the painting – wondering what modifications if any are required.  From there I will remove it from the stretcher bars and send off to Vancouver!   I may want to do come colour balancing on this – but for now, it just feels finished.

Update # 2 – Late August

8 Nov

After taking the cloudy sky to this point, I started to focus on the water.  I laid in the first wash and then worked specific areas to lighten some areas and deepen the horizon.  Confession: the level of detail in the water frightens me!  I almost did not know where to start.  I decided I had to make a decision to start somewhere.  I chose to start with the lower left corner of the water– that way I could focus  my attention on a specific area and begin to develop some detail and work outward from there.  It was a good decision as I could see where it was going.  Well, that worked for a while.  Then I got a little anxious and wanted to start pushing some paint around.  I had more fun painting the water in this manner.  I must have applied five layers of glazes.   Good to remember: Each glaze has to dry thoroughly before you apply the next – or the second glaze will lift off the first glaze.  Really not a good thing!

 

Then I looked to the foreground and decided to slop some paint around in this area. I knew I had to deepen the under painting.  So I played around in this space.  The next painting session I will focus on the grasses and fence.  Then I will go back into the water.  The overall painting is looking darker that it will be… this is part of that awkward stage 

Late August Day – Seaview, Prince Edward Island

14 Oct

There was something magical about the day.  It was the first real indication the season was getting ready to change.  That summer was fading and a new season would soon be upon us.  Even the clouds seemed somehow different.  The sun had a warm orange glow casting a golden hue on the fields. The wind was active, whipping the clouds across the St. Lawrence towards us.  The clouds were heavy, potentially full of rain with brighter fuller clouds peeking out above them. Glorious!  The visible bits of sky were a lighter shade of blue than on the previous days. And the ocean well, was deep blue and turquoise. Intense with white caps rushing towards the shore.  The air smelled wonderful.  The sound of the waves crashing so captivating.  A truly beautiful late August summer’s day.

 

This was our last full day on the island.  The guests had already begun travelling back to their homes across the globe.  We reveled in this last vacation day.  Attempting to slow the day down so we could take in every single moment.  It seems only natural that something about this day and this feeling would be a natural choice to capture for a wedding celebration painting.   The photo above represents only half or so of the actual painting.  I have started the water, and in acrylic, this stage is too messy looking to share.

There were so may days of photography.  So many subjects including a beautiful wedding.  Yes, somehow, this is the feeling the newlyweds want me to capture.  I have had three painting sessions on the clouds so far.  There are still some tweaking I will do once I have the waters well underway.

 

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