Bluebird: #1

Ok. I have excuses.

This is a painting of a bluebird. First things first: it’s awful. Ok. Fine.

Now that the self defeatism is done with: what can I learn? Well, three big things jump out at me:

1. The composition is flat flat flat. I liked the effect I got with one of the blades of grass, so I filled it up with them. I must learn to leave things alone. Stop before I think I’m done. You can always keep painting, but there is no Ctrl+Z in real life.

2. That bird is dead. And I mean doornail dead. There isn’t even a hint of light anywhere, I drew a shape and then colored it in like a coloring book. That’s not painting. That’s coloring.

3. I tried using new paper. I used Bee paper here, and that’s my excuse. When I paint with Arches, I have so much more time. The paint moves, and blends. Painting on this Bee paper is less like watercolor that I’m used to, and more like throwing glitter on glue. I don’t like it because I don’t know how to use it. That said, this paper is much easier to texture with a spray bottle, or by lifting. I think this is because the paper dries so quickly, so I am spraying at the appropriate time. With Arches, I always end up spraying too early, then I try again, and before you know it, I’ve just rewritten the whole thing and made a ton of mud.

I think this paper would be better suited for illustration maybe? But I have been learning on Arches for so long now that this paper just doesn’t work for me.

So, it’s awful. Darn. At least I can pretend like it’s the paper’s fault.

Oh! One more thing: I was experimenting with a brush I made. I think I posted about this, but I don’t remember. My friend hunts squirrels, and the last time he went out I told him to bring me a tail. He brought me one, and I used it to make a paint brush. I actually really like it, because it holds a ton of water, and I kept the hairs ridiculously long, which makes it easy to paint very long thin lines. It’s sort of like a rigger, but it feels more organic because the hairs are about two times longer than a rigger, and come to a much finer (and much more difficult to control) point. Its still shedding a bit, but nowhere near as much as when I first made it. I’m excited to keep playing with it.

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