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WIP and question

I just started working on this 12x16 painting of a German kettle I found at an estate sale a few weeks ago. I love the blue in the kettle.  Some of the background on the right is drying so it looks dull right now.  On the left side I'm going to put in a birds nest with a very small blue egg.  The question I want to ask is to anyone who has experience painting nests.  I'm thinking of putting in a wash of dark values and then pulling out lines using the brush handle.  Then coming back in with the brush to highlight some branches. There's a large nest shadow that comes out towards the kettle to fill up space.  Any ideas on the nest strategy?
Oh my gosh, I see an alligator. 


  • CJDCJD -
    edited August 8
    I don't think you need help with this one you obviously know what you're doing!
  • @Ronna - this is excellent as it is,I don't think you need the birds nest , the apple is superb
  • The strategy for the nest sounds sound but OMG the kettle is so beautifully done. Why a nest? Are you just trying for incongruity? This is luscious as is.
  • I like the idea of the nest and egg ( must be a chick thing - heh heh)
    Test out the strategy on a piece of scrap canvas first. Sounds like it would work. I did paint a nest in one of my earlier DMP paintings and I think I just worked from a very dark under layer then went lighter and lighter, then went back in to redefine the darks when finishe.

  • edited August 8
    Your approach for including the nest and blue egg seems wise, I would add using a toothpick if this would help in pulling out some of those lines for the nest. That element would also help to balance your composition beautifully!
  • edited August 8
    Looks fantastic so far, @Ronna. The strategy for the nest proposed by @Boudicca sounds good to me.  :)
  • Thank you guys.  These are helpful comments.  A few years back I painted a nest but wasn't sure if I used the best strategy.  @Forgiveness I didn't think about using a toothpick.  I'll try that.  @Boudicca, you're right about practicing first. I'm going to do that.  The left side definitely needs something to balance.  When I was setting this up I pulled everything from my arsenal on what to put there.  Nothing was working.  Then I remembered my collection of nests.  I also had the perfect blue egg to bring out the blue from the kettle.  Nests are so intimidating though. I'm painting this on an Ampersand 1.5" cradled panel. Also I'm using Mark's newest tubed paint (except for one of the blues) I love it.  Before, I had his paint that came in the jars. It was very runny.  I love this thicker formula. 
  • I am following closely because I have an eagle's nest with same challenges as you, this helped me to breakthrough a big problem already, thank you!
  • That's great @Forgiveness.  I started the nest yesterday.  I said I was going to practice first but I ended up just going for it.  I put in the dark values first to fill out the shape of the nest. So, one mass of dark.  I made sure the inside of the nest was the darkest.  I decided to put in the egg to keep track of where the center was.  The toothpick was too small but I may use it towards the end to scratch out highlights.  I used the side edge of my smallest filbert brush to pull out branches. That ended up working best. Scratching in the lines with the handle end didn't work. They're all basic lines.  I'll go back in to add color. I'm hoping I can do this wet on wet.  So far I like it.  It looks soft which is kind of cool.  I'm intimidated by all those branches going every which way.  Today I think I'll just concentrate on highlighting the main branches that form the shape.  I should have taken a picture of this stage.  I'll try to do that before I start work today.
  • The nest and egg looks done to me if you want to keep the focus on the egg and the overall fragility of both the egg and the nest.  Shadows are perfect. 
  • That's working.

    I suspect adding a few highlight lines to that nest will convert if from fluffy to prickly.
  • Thanks guys.  This afternoon I put in highlights to bring out some twigs. And shadow lines under some too. That Ol' bird sure was a fancy nest builder. :)
  • The blue of the egg keying off of the pot is really lovely. I can’t see the detail if the nest too well, but it looks like you have some nice warm darks in there. Can’t wait to see it all together!
  • That looks really good.
  • I think some of the shadow closest to the nest are softer than those under the fruit but it shouldn't be judged from the last photo. Only you have the real painting it's up to you. I would also like to see a tiny bit more of the egg color. the nest came out very well even without my feed back (happens a lot here).
  • Love it! I agree about the benefit of underpainting. :)
  • Thank you for all your comments.  I appreciate it.  I'll recheck that shadow under the nest @BOB73. I do want the shadows correct.  This photo looks a bit duller than the painting.  I'm not sure about putting another egg in.  I wish I had a real broken egg.  I could put it outside the nest.  After I varnish, I'll post the finished painting.
  • Great @Ronna, the nest worked out very well. 
  • It looks great @Ronna - shadows are very good 
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