I don't usually make things up in my paintings. I pretty much paint what I see. Whenever I start making things up, it usually leads to trouble - shadows don't match, proportions are off, colors don't agree... I'm rarely successful with painting from my mind.
I finished this little bird once. It looked just like the photograph... and it looked awful, just wrong... as if I'd made something up.
The snow on the branch was so thick that it looked fake. The blank space around the little cardinal looked unfinished. The angle of the limb didn't make any sense. The little guy had his eyes closed. His back feathers looked drab. So... I took a completely finished and dry painting and started making things up.
- I gave him a little slit of an eye.
- I grew a few little background twigs in front of and behind him.
- I scraped off a couple of inches of show.
- I skinnied up the main branch.
- I added some purple to his dark feathers on top.
Then I signed my name.
It's been a harsh winter here in Northwest Arkansas. We've had some beautiful snows.
Click "Cardinal in Winter" to purchase this little painting.