You Think That Means Me?
Day 7 of my painting challenge. Wow, this first week has flown by! I've wanted to paint this picture for some time. It's from a photograph I took last year while my wife and I where on vacation in Corpus Christi. One day, we stopped at one of the little fishing piers scattered around the bay side of the gulf to do some exploring when I spotted this seagull sitting on top of this gate. I like the way the scene looked with him on the gate and the Keep Out sign, so I got out my camera to take a picture of it. I couldn't believe it when he looked down. It looked like he was actually reading the sign. I quickly snapped off as many photographs as I could to capture this. Luckily for me, my camera will take just over 3 pictures a second. When I started thinking about what I was going to paint today, I remembered this day and immediately found my photo reference from it. The only thing I really had to do was move the sign up so everything fit into this 6x6 inch canvas.
Here's how the painting came together.
Here's the photo reference I used while painting today. You can see I simplified the background and moved the seagull over just a little. I moved the sign up in photoShop.
At this point, I've painted for just a few minutes. I'm mostly using a paper towel to wipe out where I want to put the seagull and the other larger shapes, like the sign and sky. The bit of paint that is on the canvas at this point is thinned out with turpentine.
Once I had the placement worked out, I went back with a bit of Transparent Oxide Red and Viridian and made a bit more of a line drawing. This helps me finalize where things are going to be. It also lets me lay down the darks and lights of the seagull a little easier, since I have a pretty good idea where they are now. I also know where to stop painting the background colors, so I'm not struggling trying to put the lights of the bird over them. This helps me keep my colors clean.
Here, I've painted most of the sky and background. I've also carried a lot of color into the foreground. I'm careful to not get too much paint into the lighter areas of the seagull. I don't mind as much with the dark areas since they will be a darker value than what's there and I shouldn't have any trouble covering them up. If I do think I've got too much paint there, I can always take my palette knife and wipe some of it off.
This is how I started the seagull's body. I started with the average dark value and painted that in. Then, I went back into that color with a darker value for the tail and shadows and a lighter value for the areas that were getting hit by the sun. I repeated this process for the lighter front half of the bird. I think I need to get a head on this guy next. It just looks weird at this point.
Ah, that's better. Now that this little guy has a head and feet he's really coming along. As I work on the seagull, I'm also starting to complete the background colors and the water. I'm on the home stretch now!
And here the finished painting one more time.
You Think That Means Me?