A new art challenge has begun! This is a short seven days, with the theme of “liquid,” which to my mind cries out to be done all in watercolor for the medium. I have my seven reference photos picked out, cropped, and gridded … and all seven involve one or more flamingoes, which are wading shore birds so it was merely a matter of making sure they aren’t on dry land. I have been wanting to paint a flamingo for almost two years now, and have done sketches to get a feel for the bird’s lines. Now, it is time to paint some.
First up is a young bird, molting from the grey-purple chick down to the vibrant pink feathers of the adult flamingo. The wings change over before the head and neck, just like chickens. The brilliant rose pink is a perfect contrast to the blue-green I used for the water, with the distant shoreline a blurry combination of yellow ochre for sand, brown in the shadows, and three shades of green.
Flamingoes usually don’t come this far north, nor this far inland, in Florida, but down in the southern part of the peninsula they are believed to be starting to come back and be a part of the wildlife again. Personally, I love the thought of the American flamingo regaining its Florida native status.
Continuing with my love of roses, here is a small square watercolor painting I simply call Pink Rose. While I painted the flower itself in a very realistic style, I went completely abstract for the blue-green background, just making the outline along the petals radiate towards the edges of the paper. My husband commented that this stylization of the background is often used in comics, which I had not known previously. Of course, at this moment, neither of us can come up with the name for this effect.
Shadow layer in blue
I actually started out using just a normal photo as my reference to get the shapes and particularly the shadows right. Once I had it sketched out, I had to decide what kind of background I wanted to give it. Since I already painted the shadows in blue I figured a light wash with a bit of green would be perfect.
I’m not really sold on this small of a painting. Along with the issues of finding a frame in this size, it just feels so small. Maybe it’s because I spent an entire semester working on an 18 by 24 inch sketch pad, or maybe I just feel an urge to work larger. Either way, I will likely not be tearing through this small watercolor block just because it really does feel tiny to me.