Monday, September 15, 2014

Blue Heron Demo ~ Day 16, 30 day challenge

 While I have been working on some smaller pieces for Leslie Saeta's 30 Day Challenge.  Work on larger pieces continues.
I thought you might find it interesting to see the progression of a recent painting. How I go from white ground to finished piece.  Above is the almost finished painting. You can see my photo taped to my work bench.  The photo comes from the art resource section of Wet Canvas.  Thank you again to all the artists who so generously share their photos.
The canvas is 24" x 20" and I am have gessoed over a painting start that I had lost interest in.  The canvas was scraped and sanded before the gesso was applied.  I just lay in the major forms to get the composition settled.

I block in the basic values.  That little white spot is going to be the turtle. At this point I am still unsure of its placement.

I have worked on the background here but not much on the heron.  I know that when I start to add the mating plumage I want the background to be pretty much finished.  I have not decided if I even want a turtle.  I decide that my next steps will be to remove that tent like shape directly over the heron's head and change the shape of the growth under his head. It is to much the same. (same is not good).

I am almost finished. I decided the turtle was essential. (it's that relationship thing again)  The plumage has gone in.  I have added colors from the sky into the water. I have started to add twinkle to the sky.  I am big on twinkle these days.
Below the finished version.
24" x 20"
$580 unframed
©Maggie Ruley 2014

Some details below.
water reflections in the initial block in

water reflections finished, with some of the thin coats of paint still visible

eye detail

head detail

colors of the water pulled into the heron's underside to suggest the reflected water.

totally cute turtle


  1. Beautiful paint handling ... I like the reminder on the easel ... squint!!

  2. Quite a splendid job you did with this one too! How is it we like that blue bird so much?


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