It's a cold, wet, dreary gray day in December and I'm looking out my kitchen window watching the birds at the bird feeder and thinking about painting. A Titmouse is at the feeder and immediately I know why I love to paint! It excites my senses to see this beautiful dark feathered little bird with a tuft on its head and lovely orange colors under it's wings and cream colored breast feathers. In the same way that is excites me to see a beautiful bird or any number of interesting or beautiful things, it excites me to paint these things, also.
So how would I paint the Titmouse? I would paint an impression of him with a long handled bristle flat, establishing the lights and darks quickly while working to get the shape and colors of the bird, but not painting every feather. Then I would quickly establish the background, painting branches and leaves to put the bird in a natural setting. To make the bird believable, I would put his bill, eyes and feet in with a fine brush and a little bit of detail. One step I left out which is important when painting birds, is to take a very good picture of the bird, since birds won't be still long enough to paint.
Every artist feels this way at one time or another. So what do you do? You can get back in the studio, do what you've always done and paint your way through the roadblock. This works for some folks. Or you can take a little time and focus on what inspired you to paint in the first place. Ask yourself questions about what, how, when, and why? you paint. Explore colors you love, media and surfaces you like, techniques and styles you enjoy, and know how you want your paintings to look and what response you want from viewers. In other words, know thyself and as you've heard so many times, paint what you love!
This was painted in plein air earlier this year in a favorite Memphis, TN park. The little white flowers along the path into the trees attracted me to this peaceful spot in the park. I was especially interested in the dark shadow of the trees contrasted with the lighter colors of the flowers.