Birds of a Feather - WIP Update #1

A few years ago I was captivated by a group of Mourning Doves sitting on a weeping mulberry shrub outside the window of my mother-in-law’s bedroom window.  They were huddled there on that very cold day as the shrub happened to be located near the dryer vent.  The warm air kept them huddled there for hours.  They were keenly aware I was there photographing them.  You can see they kept at least one eye on me – and this went on for an extended period of time.   Often there would be a disturbance when new doves  wanted to roost in this prime warm location.  They can be feisty when defending roost. Helen Shideler - Birds of a Feather - WIP

As I mentioned, I took the photos a few years ago.  And I have just started the painting this week.  That is because it is a complex subject.  Now I have never been one to shy away from a challenge or complexity, but this series of photos is special.  It is a tangled mess of twigs and I had almost no clue at all on where to start.  Last year, I revisited these reference photos a number of times.  Admired them.   Then I tucked them away safely waiting for the time I would actually muster up the courage and just go for it!

Then it happened.  Last week I pulled out this series of photos again.  And I had it.  I knew the exact way to approach this.  At least to start it.  I loosely drew it out. And then I set it aside with a feeling of  “are out of your mind?”  The very next day as I sat there looking at my drawing and idea arrived in my head.  I am thinking there was divine intervention here.  And the message was not - quick burn it and no one will ever know!  It was a decisive  thought, you have masque and know how to use it!  I hastily got out the masque, a little pot of Dawn dish soap (every artist’s friend) and went in. And applied more than I initially thought it would.

Helen Shideler- Birds of a Feather WIP

Let dry for 24 hours before starting  the next stage.  Here is where I am at now.  Second stage complete.

I should mention this painting in on Ampersand Aquabord 22” x 30” – hence the let dry for 24 hours..   After I started the second stage I began to wonder how it would look in the very slick Claybord surface.  Dang, that may have to be another painting!