Saturday, April 13, 2013

Crows and Cardinal in Snow WIP

These series of steps taken today outline a work in progress or WIP, beginning with thumbnail sketches in colored pencils.  This scene is a commission and has been SOLD.

Each of these is about 3x4 inches to just get a feel for the subject.  My client saw a similar scene of black crows with one red male cardinal years ago, and wanted the vivid imagery translated by an artist to keep the memory alive.  So I hope I can do it justice.  I will be using watercolors on Kilimanjaro 140 lb cold press paper.  Paints are:  Quinacridone burnt orange, shadow violet, ultramarine blue, midnight blue, quin magenta, gamboge, Grumbacher true red, permanent red, and alizarin crimson.  All black is mixed with these colors.

First step was to draw an odd number of crows and place them in the middle ground, as the cardinal will be in foreground, lower right, and he'll be the automatic center of interest due to his bright plumage.  Crows are a mix of first 5 pigments listed above; small areas of the birds were wet then color applied one hue next to the other and let blend.  You can see an old white fence in the back as a high horizon line.

Next step is a pale wash of UB and QBO, I painted the areas between white pickets and splashed more in foreground; cardinal will be almost last.  Fence texture will be done with drybrush.

Step 3 is the addition of the cardinal and in this detail you can see weathered back fence and inbetween.  I've added small dark seeds as they are foraging in winter and are quite hungry.  The cardinal doesn't have any seeds to eat and is venturing towards the big guys hoping to peck out a few morsels.

Final step! Quite tricky making sure the crows were larger than the cardinal and a different stance on each one.  Slight snow shadows added to ground the birds, and when dry, I splattered a dark mix of paint for tiny seeds.  I hope this reads right and that the customer is pleased, as this one was a joy to plan and paint.  Crows and Cardinal in Snow 11x15 watercolor, copyright Kay Smith 2013.


Siggi in Downeast Maine said...

Lovely composition. I have been studying crows, taking photos of the different stances, groupings. You did a wonderful job designing the painting...and adding the cardinal.
It will make a wonderful memoir piece for your client.

Thank you for sharing it.

Patty Henderson said...

Nicely done, I'm sure your client will love it! Thanks for sharing your WIP!

Annette T. said...

Oh this is a beautiful composition. I am enjoying your work so much. Just wish I could get to one of your workshops. I am relatively new to watercolors, 2 yrs now, and still amazed at how difficult it can be at times. I have switched from acrylics for many years to WC and I find I still get hung up on things the way I painted when I was using my acrylics!

Rebecca A. Maynard said...

you have included in your story blog.
I am also an avid reader and some of the titles of the books I have enjoyed-Salvation Creek, The House At Salvation Creek (both by Susan Duncan);fencing materials