Need advise on this painting

I have this 22x24 painting I've been working on. I like the idea of the set-up but I'm not liking the finished look in the first picture. I pulled the black cloth down from the back across the table. I wish I had done that differently but at this point I'm not going to change it. So I thought of adding my Bluebird to break up that space from the background to the table top. I've drawn in the bird holding a piece of holy. I'm going to call this "Tidying Up" so the bird helping gives me that little fun part too. The background is dry. Do I need to brush on Slow Dry Medium in that spot before trying to paint the bird or can I just start painting? What do you think? Should I add the bird or just leave it out? Any suggestions would be helpful.


  • I vote for adding the bird for more interest and color (though it's very nice as is). No clue whether or not to brush on SDM.
  • I don't know that you need medium but you might need to paint a little background color in fresh if you want to pull any around the bird. Like the idea of adding it too!
  • I'm of the same Sue and Liz advice bird :-bd
    You can use some SDM to oil in out and maybe of course a little background to soft the bird edges where is necessary.
  • Hi this painting...and the bird will really add a "spark" is so cute!

    About the dried surface...I find the paint sometimes is hard to move around...if this is the case (the painting has to be very dry to the touch) I will pour a little linseed or walnut oil into my hand...rub my hands together & then apply to the canvas, covering the entire canvas.....I rub all over in circle motion with my warmed hands....then take a very soft rag (like old t shirt) or you can use a make-up wedge (sponge) and gently remove all surface oil from the canvas

    Then apply paint...your applying a fat layer over a leaner layer (so this prevents cracking in years to come)....this makes the paint just flow on so easy...

    anxious to see this finished...GREAT!
  • I love the addition of the bird Ronna. I've used sdm rubbed in to help any additional fresh paint to adhere properly to the dried paint beneath. If your absolutely sure you can mix up the background color again, I'd also add a bit of fresh background paint and paint the bird into it. @Mark_Carder Hopefully Mark will see this and provide the definitive answer! :)
  • I too vote for the addition of the bird. The red berries continue to move your eyes through the painting. By adding the bird, will then let your eyes come to rest in the center. Don't know for sure abt SDM addition but to me it would be much easier to paint wet in wet then totally dry. By having a wet background you can then blend the bird into it and won't run the risk of having that pasted on look. Can't wait to see the result. Donna
  • Thanks for the advise guys! I will work on it tomorrow. Hopefully I can get the oil in without loosing my outlines. I redrew the bird to move him up a bit.
  • Add the bird... this is great Ronna!! ;;)
  • edited February 2013
    Ronna, I will preface this with I am once again suffering from jetlag so I have no idea if what I'm thinking makes any sense. I ran my eye around the painting with the proposed birdie.

    Here are my questions. While I thought I had answers, I guess I don't. I just feel compelled to ask:

    - Does the bird and the way he is positioned affect the eye travel as indicated by the arrows. If so, is this good or bad?

    - Does the center of interest occur on the vase because of the intensity of the light?

    - If the center of interest is up high on the vase, does the circular eye flow of adding the bird down low affect how we travel through the painting? Is this a problem?

    - If it's all good, that's great. If it's a problem of any sort how can we solve it?

    The more I look at it the more I like the idea ... it's like there are two centers of interest and they sort of feed from one to the other. Of course this could all be B.S. coming out of my degraded mental condition.


    PS - what's there so far looks great.
  • Gosh Garry, those are good questions. I need to think on it.
  • Oh gosh once again Miss Contrary 8-X has arrived!!!! :))

    I love it the way it is. I like the breathing room you have. What can I say??? Sorry.

    I don't think it's good to start second guessing yourself. Go with your first instinct. Again sorry. I think this setup the way it is feels balanced to me and not contrived. You always do such classy setups.

    But I also know your work and if anyone could pull this off, you could. I start a lot of paintings and then they'll sit for months and dry. Mark said just to wipe on some mineral spirits in the area that is dry and just start painting. I've done it and it works great!

    Will be watching this one. I do so love your work :)

  • Oh don't ya just love gettings everyone opinion... I will repeat mine.. paint the bird. :P
    It will be in the shadow so it won't be fighting for the spotlight... a blue bird will be harmonious with the palette and it will add interest. If you don't like it paint it out!! ;;)
  • Oh don't ya just love gettings everyone opinion... I will repeat mine.. paint the bird. :P
    It will be in the shadow so it won't be fighting for the spotlight... a blue bird will be harmonious with the palette and it will add interest. If you don't like it paint it out!! ;;)

  • I'm still trying to figure out the answers to Garry's questions.
    I have the center of interest at the top left vase. I guess the eye would go from there to the bird, bowl, brush then nest. The nest is my favorite part. Maybe it would stop at the bird and not make it over to the nest...the way you put the arrows but I'm happy with the placement.
    Tj, I respect your opinion. You give good advise. I actually set it up to have that breathing room. But after I was finished I just knew something wasn't right. When I placed the bird in(it's a plastic bird) I got that "oh yeah" feeling. I appreciate all the opinions. It has helped me.
  • tjstjs -
    edited February 2013
    I'm glad it's a plastic bird. I can never get them to sit for me right!

  • That's not the video I wanted. But I'll leave it up there. I do like Mary Poppins.

    Now I can't find it again. It was this gal that showed how she made these lifelike little birds. It looked so easy to do. They were even jointed so you could position them. I thought it would be useful in these types of paintings :)

    I'll see if I can find it today. Sorry I didnt' bookmark it :(
  • I would also add the bird Ronna! Already like the painting but the bird will make it richer. Can't give you an advice about painting on the dried surface...not sure if the black will show through...
  • I seriously hope that you choose to put the bird in this already amazing painting! :x
    I'd like to know how you rendered that when you have done :-B
    Ciao Maria
  • Oh tj if you could find that video I would be one happy camper. I want to do more paintings with birds but it really helps to have a stand-in for shadow placement and size. I might beable to figure out how she makes them if I see the video.
    I'm going to paint the bird in for sure now. Thanks everyone for your imput.
  • Ronna, I'm no expert on painting but I think yes the bird. Even though I like what you already painted I think the bird will add interest and bring the paingting together with the nest. A bird gathers all kinds of things to make its nest. Every spring I have them picking my door mats tto pieces tryng to get things to make nests. We even had a nest of babys on the light by our back door. But with the nest, the bird and the broom, its like the bird has gathered things for its nest. I think the bird will add interest and color.
  • Thanks Susie. I found that nest in my gym's parking lot. :)
    Maria, I will let you know.
  • edited February 2013
    Ronna, ... whatever you do will be great.
  • Ronna I think you should put Garry K in a parakeet outfit and super glue him to the canvas and 'see how that looks'!! If you 'lightly sand the area where the glue was', please seek advice from a medical expert as to where to apply the glue given certain parts of his anatomy are critical to his............flying. ;)
  • I think GarryK changed his post. People won't know what the heck we're talking about. :-/
  • :) I gave that post a lot of thought and realized that it could come off as animal cruelty, which I AM NOT into. But jetlag and keyboard silliness don't mix. If you can't say something nice about a parakeet, don't say it at all, my mother used to say.
  • That's not a dead parrot. It's only resting.

  • Ronna, If I may and of course assuming you have not made the change yet and added your bluebird, which may not be a bad idea, I would rather it be your idea with what I am about to say. Without the bird, you have two separate places for the eye to go with a dark empty space between the two. What I think it needs if not another or third eye catcher, but something subtle that joins the two centers of interest. Say a branch of holly, that overlaps the whisk broom and leads back to and behind the white vase. This connects the two and leads the eye and does not stop it as an animate object would tend to do. Now it does not have to be a holly branch it can be anything you want, but if it is the bird, don't make it a half way center of interest or in this case a third one. Make the bird with a holly branch in the fore and lit up so he becomes the center of interest. The vase and the whisk broom would ll lead to him. Also make his tail overlap either the broom or the white vase and the holly branch overlap the other so the two objects are joined. Please take these as suggestions in illustrating my point and not telling you what to do. You can use it if you wish, but you can use anything that makes sense to you in this painting. It is a good one and with a little fine tuning can be a great one.
    I just looked at the photo again. If you use the bluebird, make him looking down at the holly branch or just picking it up, if you use this idea. If his head is up people tend to follow the eyes of anything animate in a painting. By having him looking down it fortifies the circular "line" keeping the eye of the viewer in the picture longer. A lot of theory here, but it does tend to work. :)
  • Wow, lots of great information AZ. I wish you had written this earlier. I posted the finished painting a few days ago with adding the bird. But, your suggestions on how to position the bird are great and I wish I had known these few points before putting him in.
    At first I had tried a ribbon, more holly and also pussywillow branch. When I put the bird in I liked the color and idea of a bird. The way your discribed joining the two center of interest is something I will keep in mind from now on. I think if I had had him picking up a long holly branch that might have been better. Thank you for your input AZ!
  • I'm sorry I did not find your question sooner, I am working on a painting for the catalog for a show I am in each year and my illness in January sort of put me behind the eightball so to speak. :) Consequently, I look at DMP several times a day but usually only if I made a comment and checking to see if anyone has any questions to what I wrote and I am only on for a few minutes. When I write out the longer "eye glazer's" is usually as I am having coffee in the morning or taking my lunch break which can vary as to when I take it. So my apologies, but I am glad it gave you some food for thought. Still lifes can be a lot harder to compose than many might think. I watched Mark's video on how he sets up a still life to paint and I liked his method and think it makes sense, even if to a few it may seem haphazard. I assure you it is not. I don't paint many still lifes, but when I do (to quote the "most interesting man in the world"), I do the same as Mark does and if I drank, I'd drink a Dos Equis while doing it. :D I'm glad you solved your problem and finished the painting. I will find it and take a look. :)
  • I think adding bluebirds.That makes your picture more interesting

    This thread appears to be from early 2013.  Probably no point giving suggestions now.  ;)
  • edited April 22
    @Ronna hasn't been active for a long time and this thread dates from 2013. Why did you resurrect it after nine years, @Jessica2008?  An opportunity for spam, maybe? I hope that is not the case.  if it is the case please know that we hate spammers and their spam gets deleted by members almost instantly. If you are genuine, then, welcome.  :) But don't resurrect such ancient threads. 
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