To live and enjoy every day to its fullest, use my gifts to help others, I travel to wherever passion finds me.

What Will She Paint?

So many friends I met here...!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


This was the first critter I ever painted. Blogging has given me more access to interesting and very detailed pictures of nature and animals. Since I didn't trumpet it on my blog, I did not have the pressure to succeed. Actually it went very well. 

I started doing the background with watercolor - on cream colored  pastel paper, which feels like sand paper. Pastel has surprisingly as much durability as oil! The bird itself, even though this one has many details on the feathers, was easier than I would have thought.. Dikkop is seen in South Africa and is about the size of a chicken.

 shadow of the bird
The real challenge was to put it in an environment  that would be a background not competing with the bird, but interesting enough that it would not turn into a boring scene. You would not believe what a shadow can add to the scene. 

 © midway in the process of Dikkop, Pastel, St.Germain

When I don't know what I'm getting into, I like to develop both the background and the main subject at the same time. I cross-hatch one layer of color on top of the other, every time increasing the intensity of the color. That is actually how one is "supposed" to do it. 
But who says?
I like to wander and meander and see the world from my own perspective, but no Jose, not the first time! Then I play by the rules. 

©  Dikkop, Pastel, St.Germain
Spotted dikkop - Burhinus capensis

Since Joan from South African Photographs gave me the go ahead to use her pic last year from "Dikkop" (the common name of this bird) I thought the background showing in her pic was  perfect in complementary colors. 
If you look closely (click to enlarge) you see the cross hatch movement of the pastel I also used on the street and shadow and bricks. After the bird was done I gave it a light sweep with spray, and also after the whole painting was finished. 
Since most birds are much smaller and quick in their movements, I don't think I'll be painting them "plein air" soon! .


Beth Niquette said...

That is extraordinary! I just don't understand how you are able to achieve such detail with pastels. This fills my eyes, which is the greatest compliment I can give.

Rudee said...

Nicely done. I think it's beautiful.

I love your hat!

Stephanie V said...

Jeanette, I like this very much. You've captured a questing look in the bird's eye that I find intriguing.
And I love the blue shadow. I would never have thought of that as a possibility. Yes, I always colored in the lines.

Kathryn Magendie said...

angie and I and an artist friend were talking about your work the other day - *smiling*

Clytie said...

Beautiful! How very talented you are!!!

jeannette said...

Thank you for your big compliment, friend! Layer on top of layer does the trick- there are also pastel pencils for thing lines.

Thank you Rudee. What you do in knitting, I do with painting -one continuous stream of creativity;) and trying out new things!

Thank you!Because of the angle the bird is standing in, its eye came out very nicely! It helps to know color theory which colors are a possible good match...
As a child I hated coloring within the lines:)

Guess it was about "The Face of Passion?" It makes my day when others are excited about something I painted!
Saw on your blog you're extremely busy...just take it won't run away -it'll be there tomorros LOL

M.Kate said...

For a first timer, I think it went exceedingly a big congrats :)

jeannette said...

Thank you, Friend! There are those who say 99% practice, sweat and tears, and 1% talent...maybe the truth is somewhere in between:) I would say at least 45% talent...

Thank you! Since it hasn't been long that you've been reading my blogs, after this, I did a butterfly in pastel (May 09), then another one in oil.

Zuzana said...

That is lovely bird. If one looks at that last picture, one can almost see it move.;)

Dick said...

It's a nice painting, I believe the shadows make things much better.
Dikkop is a nice name something like fat head, hahahaha

Whitemist said...

background in Water color and the the rest in pastel? That created a wonder effect!

jeannette said...

You are so good in giving compliments, Zuzanna:)

It would be a flat painting without those shadows...a flat fathead? I hear hubby saying "Zo kan 'ie wel weer hoor!"

Sorry, I must not have been clear enough...first I went with watercolor over the whole painting. Then, on top of the watercolor, I did all the layers of pastel - over subject as well as background.

Cottage Way of Life said...

Your bird looks pretty fabulous. I loved seeing the progression of each layer to the final version!

jeannette said...

Cottage Way of Life,
Thank you! Enjoyed seeing Frida Kahlo on your blogpost -she and Diego Rivera are very inspiring artists (to me)!

Rebecca said...

Wow, very talented! I love how you walked us through your process...not being an artist I found it very interesting and helps me appreciate your end result even more.

jeannette said...

You are NOT an artist...??? You are more of an artist than some of them who call themselves that! (really, it's not even a compliment but a statement of a fact -everyone who has seen your pics will agree!:) )
But thank you - glad you enjoyed this post!