For some reason, I thought painting a big picture of pigeons would be fun to do. Here's what happened, in progression. Let me know what you think...... a super dumb idea or ???

Here are the background steps, shown above, but the miskit's been removed from the leaves. The leaves as well as the giant pigeons were miskited so I could wet the entire paper and let the paint flow without it getting on the pigeons or leaves. I worked the foreground in two pourings, covering most of it the second time with Phthalo Blue.
The upper portion of the painting was poured with a shadow-like edge created on the bottom of the horizontal shape. I added excess water to create blossoms in various areas, then as soon as it was almost dry, washed off the loose paint. Since the painting's 42 x 27," it was easiest to work on sections.
The post above shows the next step. On wet paper, I added more color to the leaf areas, made more blossoms and back runs, then after letting it dry a bit, blasted off whatever paint hadn't set up yet, creating the textures seen below. Check out Nick Simmons' blog - see side bar - to see more of his watercolor batik effect on his blog and web site.
The leaves shown above are just a close up of the leaves after layering of paint twice and spraying off twice to create the batik look. Initially, the background behind them was also treated with the same process.Above, the miskit is off the pigeons but new areas on their backs have been miskited that will remain white. Time to paint those pigeons.
Paint was added to both pigeons, but only the one on the left had back runs created and paint washed off of it. Click on the image to see the difference in textures of the two birds. The miskit's been removed from both birds.
At this point in the painting, I really began to question what in the world I was thinking --- painting PIGEONS??? Giant pigeons? These two birds each measure about 18 inches long.

Then I remembered. The very first memory I have of ever being afraid was when I was maybe three years old and playing in our backyard. Suddenly these HUGE birds landed near me. They had shiny, iridescent feathers and bobbed their heads in a goofy way. I flew up the back porch steps to the safety of my mom's arms. I do think those particular pigeons WERE at least 18 inches long, maybe even longer. I can certainly remember being very terrified.
Above is the nearly finished piece. Although I'd used some warm colors near the birds, the painting had no contrast of temperature other than the red orange eyeball of the 'lady' pigeon. Contrast can usually add some interest, and since this painting needed more pizazz, I popped some orange in the feathers. See below.

I'd guess I've faced my fears of those pigeons, just in time to visit St. Mark's square in a couple of weeks. Can't wait. Bring on those pigeons!
"PIGEON TOED?" Fluid Acrylics on 140#HP Arches 42 x 27"


Anita Davies said...

Wonderful to see your steps too.

Vicki Greene said...

The texture on this is wonderful and it is very, very large. Thanks for sharing the steps of this beautiful painting.

Nick said...

Man that's beautiful Sandy! Really love that one, and even in the unfinished state it was great. The color shifts, the texture in the leaves, and the white spatter is perfect. I remember that crow painting, too...it totally ruled!

Michelle Himes said...

"....any hope for the pigeons the way they are?"

Are you kidding, Sandy, this is wonderful! Please leave it the way it is. You can always paint another and try something different.

Dawn said...

Hey Sandy,

thanks so much for the lesson! you know I love all the birds!

love it Sandy!

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Thanks for all the process detail of this wonderful piece of work. Being a flower painter, I was spellbound by the close up of the leaves. You've captured the birds amazingly and feel the warm colours added near the end really works. You always seem to know what to do to bring a piece to its stunning conclusion. 18 inch birds must have been challenging - but you must have had alovely time with the fluid acrylic washes. Do you use what I call ' acrylic inks' marketed in bottles?

Sandy Maudlin said...

Joan, I use Golden and Da Vinci's fluid acrlics, which are closer to watercolor than the inks are. I can handle them exactly like watercolor except that they won't reactivate when wet again - just like the inks. The color range is more vast to choose from, but the effects from either the inks or acrylics are pretty cool. The 'new' watercolor, as Nick says!

Sandy said...

It truly is a beautiful painting Sandy! I love the way you explain your steps during the painting process and your feelings about your work as you go.

Sandy said...

Fantastic, such soft colors and I feel like I'm standing there in person.