This piece was painted for a specific show where all the artists create a work on the same substrate. This year it’s square 12″ x 12″ canvases. Oyster catchers are such such wonderfully odd looking birds and they inhabit that edge between land and ocean which is delightful to paint.
Well, it’s always fun to paint the delightful local Anna’s hummingbirds. I played with various brushes and my palette knife to get the feeling of the feathers …oh, and I used the other end of my brush to scratch into the paint too!
Painting a larger piece with the theme of birds in flight seemed natural after creating the smaller ones. The scale of this one allowed much more in terms of setting. The whole thing evolved intuitively as the layers built up. One of the final elements was the bridge crossing a narrow chasm in the foreground. I suddenly realized there was a path to look out over the ridge. That must be some spectacular view! I enjoyed the idea of that other view which here is just hinted at but the main feature is the sky full of birds darting and skimming through the air – the feeling of exultation.
A second take on the murmuration theme. I enjoyed trying this one with a limited cool palette giving the feeling of quite late in the day. The sun has already gone past the horizon with just a warm glow left and the sky heading towards that pre-darkness deep blue. I love that colour! Silhouetted birds fly in the dusk.
I started with the idea of a murmuration in my mind. The dips and turns of the birds flying together, the rustle of their wings… Later, the colours came telling me it was evening. Birds dart and soar, perhaps snatching the odd insect out the the air before retiring to roost for the night.
Having some fun with oyster catchers and capturing the feeling of the edge between ocean and land. Growing up in Ontario, the idea of tides is something I have had to learn as an adult. It’s fascinating how the shifting water levels shape that edge. I could watch the many creatures that take advantage of this habitat for hours.
I see Anna’s hummingbirds around here more than any other kind and even at this time of year – unless it’s really cold – they can be seen darting around hoping for some fuel for their tiny bodies. I’d rather imagine them in the midst of the bounty of summer blossoms though. I’m happy with the blur of the wings capturing that feeling of movement in stillness.
To close out 2021 a larger piece that I worked on over a couple of months and finished recently. Inspired by the local juncos who are so quick flitting about. Often, they are only recognized by the flash of white in their tails. There is a feeling of Autumn in this piece as well, with arbutus berries and leaves and also signs of new rain in puddles. Realistic elements and other more abstracted passages balance each other.