The last few weekends, I’ve been taking trips to the Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve, here in South Texas. If you are a bird lover like me, it’s a great place to observe many different types of birds in their native environments.
I want to share with you my process of painting when I paint from photo reference, as in this instance.
From these reference photos, I made some quarter sheet paintings. The first set I want to show you is how I used a quarter sheet reference painting to make a larger half sheet work. Very often I will splice photos together to get compositional ideas.
Using this technique I was able to put together a larger half sheet of this subject.
This is one way to compose a work. It’s almost like sketching, but not quite.
In these next series of photos , I will outline my approach to a painting using a sketch. First, I look through my reference photos and isolate some nice shots of what I think will work in a compositional sketch. I then place them using my reference material. I immediately recognized that the flight of these Egrets was something I would like to capture.
There was one photo that captured the flight beautifully and that became my focal point for this painting.
So, from these photos and the birds that were isolated in them, I made my compositional sketch for my larger work. In this next set of photos, you will see my process from start to finish:
I am pretty happy with the way things turned out. I would like to improve my washes which I think will tie in my paintings a little better. To me, they still look a little ‘pasted on’ so the transitions of tone could be better.
I hope you enjoyed this series of my work and happy painting!
Al Kline is a South Texas Watercolor Artist. He began painting watercolors in April 2017. He is acting President of the South Texas Watercolor Society. This site is ad free and updated with features, featured artists, instruction articles and general blog posts.
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