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Blue Heron at Devil's Rapids - The Painting @ 30" x 40" Canvas

edited July 2018 in Post Your Paintings
                                                            I included the 3.5" x 4.5" sketch along with the larger canvas. The bird measures 15" x 15" in this size, everything so much larger and because of so much work done on this already that I can see a lot more in the photo by now, this will allow for a lot more in the painting, this drawing already so much better than the sketch. I have to clean this up of excess chalk before painting and I just may redraw with a darker neutral stain. The greatest challenge here was dealing with high humidity affecting my well stretched canvas (doesn't bounce back normal too quickly right now), don't know if this condition will clear anytime soon, patience. In the meantime I have paint to continue mixing for this, ensuring I have enough on hand to complete this confidently. For brushes I have 2", 3", 2 1/4" Wide Flat bristle, and #10, #9, #5's Filberts for the majority if not all of the details. Thank you.


  • You've certainly done your homework and are more than ready to do this painting.  It should be fun for you here on in.   :)  
  • Wow! That's about life size, @Forgiveness. I look forward to seeing updates.       :)
  • Does the canvas have a bar in the center? I can see how you would be challenged to keep it taught. I am excited to watch your progress on this, you are ready!
  • edited July 2018
    Thank you @Freeman, another thing I could try is inserting wood shimmies available for the inside corners, tightens things up just right.
  • edited July 2018
                                                         I removed excess chalk with a kneaded eraser and I simply went over the leftover chalk drawing with a neutral wash thinned with mineral spirits, let dry, then one more good wipe with a damp cloth to remove the rest of excess chalk. These are only guides (to help me with my aim with brushes) that will get lost and recreated again as I progress. Next time I post I will have my darkest darks painted in. Now I will mix 3 different color black to get the job done and need to store in snap caps. thank you.
  • Looking good! Can’t wait.
  • edited July 2018
    One big messy, fussy job, ha,ha,ha. I'm still in process mixing paint, now using 35mm plastic film containers (2 each for the basic primaries to begin with, +more to come) and snap caps, while estimating my color needs and volumes (for large canvas with huge brushes). Glad to have 3 glass pallettes to work with, may need 2 more for such large wide brushes. I expect to paint in darkest areas sometime today. Thank you.
  • It's going to be a whopper! Good luck.
  • edited July 2018
                       These are my darkest darks for the entire canvas, using #9 Filbert and #12 Flat (short). I will be painting in and will post update shortly. I've been nursing my left eye back to health for nearly 2 weeks, therapy now complete, all is well, what a challenge for a visual artist, ha,ha,ha.
  • No matter how weak your vision gets you are still a visionary in my book.
  • Would love to see this in reality because I’m betting a photo can’t do it justice. 
    Will be one to stop you in your tracks.  
    Following your progress with interest @ Forgiveness. Hope your eye gets better soon. 
  • edited July 2018
    Thank you @Hilary, I must say, this is one huge rock in the center and a very big bird that will take the greatest detail, hopefully won't take long to get there to finally do that.
  • @Forgiveness Take your time with this. It’ll be worth the wait 
  • edited September 2018
    "Why Did The Blue Heron Cross The Road?"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     These are from an entire short video of my catching this moment, 5:30AM, one morning.
  • edited July 2018
     Thank you all, now back to painting once again, will post progress soon. 
  • edited July 2018
    In the case that I made a slight mistake here at this very point as shown above, I can simply go ahead paint over it, it has dried 3 days now. Thank you.
  • He crossed the road to prove to the racoon that it could be done.
  • That would make a nice painting, I'd leave out the road and make it a small foot path or just all grass and eliminate the sign as well.
  • edited July 2018
    Thank you, that's just the composition I was looking for in this @BOB73. Consider it in the works for an entire series over time on the blue heron as I have quite a collection in my library to work from. Right now I miss my 40K walks every week, in need of new walking shoes for the occasion and a new camera would be helpful in capturing so much more of what I see when I go out scouting for images to paint from. I hope to replace these soon. I sold a drawing recently (a portrait), the client is quite happy and so am I and I feel very much encouraged.
  • edited August 2018
                                                                                                    Varnished sketch, looks good as is but this would not quite cut it for me as a 30" x 40" seen from 25' - 50' away in a gallery setting. More presence, clarity and richness in color will come into this as I return to incorporating French Ultramarine Blue as my primary blue. As is, it shows the haze in that hot 9:30 AM air, as I was looking through my zoomed camera lens, I don't want that for the large canvas. Thank you. 
  • @forgiveness, I think the black outlining and especially the crags in the rocks need a few more values and may be need to be neutralized in the case of the black surrounding the green area just behind the bird. This should be easier in the larger format.
  • @Forgiveness I think the drawing is outstanding and I agree that some more saturation may be needed...BUT I think the main thing , for me, is that the heron is such a central &beautiful element but the neck and head and beak almost gets lost in the places where the background is similar values...would that change with the oils perhaps??
  • @BOB73 that's correct about value corrections in dark areas. The sketch was only 3 values becauce small, the large painting has 7 total to make up similar. I can change the coincidence happening at the end of the heron's tail. @judith yes I agree, I can change this quite well, make that more ledgeable because of size, so much more room to work with in large format. This large bird certainly knows how to naturally camouflage itself but not strictly so in this painting. Thank you.
  • edited September 2018
    In the beginning of the small sketch I did not believe that I could include so very much detail, but my teacher assured me. It's about simply getting the gist of the painting and working out the final over all composition including color and getting all the values right and to include as many details as humanly possible in such a tiny space. But this is not the final say in how I want and intend the painting to be. The refined painting is further built up from the sketch and photo reference and will be the final result with added input or eliminations as I go. Since completing this sketch, I can now see more in the photo than when I first began (ie.: more colors and detail especially in the shadow areas), this in turn will be reflected in the final painting. Even tough this large bird knows how to use its quality of camouflage in its natural environment convincingly well, this will not be reflected so well in the painting, it needs to stand out as the feature item in this scene. Looking forward! Comments, feedback much appreciated. Thank you.

  • edited September 2018
                                                          Two different color pallets I am using to paint this. In the first above, Pyrrol Rubine, Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Yellow Pale. The second, Alizarine Crimson, French Ultramarine, Ultramarine Deep and Cadmium Yellow pale. Thank you.
  • edited September 2018
                                                                                                      Selection of spatulas used to mix the paint and scoop it into the above cannister and snap caps, made it simple and relatively clean, very little waste, labor intensive none the less for short period without interference in this process, best to use rubber gloves and plenty of wipes, dispose ASAP when finished.
  • I am amazed by the amount of efforts and dediction u put on your work. This is going to be good for sure!
  • Love following your progress. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.
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