Thursday, February 21, 2013

Yellow Crowned Night Heron

The last painting I "completed" was given as a  Christmas gift.  My daughter's private flute instructor of the past nine years is also the head of the York County Wild Bird Refuge   She has made it her  mission to protect the Yellow Crowned Night Herons who have made an artificial lake in the middle of York City their home.

It is quite an experience to attend the annual Spring Garden Recital surrounded by fledgling herons and other birds who are being nursed to health by Mrs. Deckard.   Her wonderful backyard garden in transformed into a hospital for injured and rescued birds.  While the young ladies are playing their flutes in the gazebo, wrens and robins and finches fly about, oblivious to the commotion taking place in the garden.

I had to research the heron that she loves, borrowing reference photos from birdwatchers along the mid-Atlantic seaboard.  The swamp flora  was partially my own garden and partially borrowed from another photo, but largely invented as Vincent Van Vogh seemed to visit me while painting this.  I was inspired by my visit to the Van Gogh: Up Close exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

I painted this over a discarded painting of my own garden which I attempted to paint en plein air.  The painting was abandoned after I was attacked by hordes of Brown Marmorated Stinkbugs who kept flying into me and my canvas.  I could not find any sandpaper so the ridges and textures remain from the abandoned painting.  (I like doing this, but I've often received criticism for it).  Please click on the picture for a better view!

This is quite a contrast to the style I have been studying.  I am taking a class using Old Masters techniques.  It is a lot of blending and smoothing and sanding, small brushes and discipline which I am not used to.   Not my typical style, but I am learning a lot.  I think it is always good to challenge oneself as an artist by exploring as many genres as we can.


dive said...

Beautiful, Neetzy. You've really brought the night heron to life, both in form and colour. How wonderful that they are making a home in NYC.
Love the background, and also the clash with old paint and brushstrokes; "it makes an interesting dialogue" as the critics might say.
God luck with painting "old master" style. That requires way more patience than I have. Do let us see the results.

neetzy said...

Thanks Dive. The herons are in York City, not NYC. Our little York in Pennsylvania.

As far as the old masters' thing... I don't have the patience for it, but it is weirdly satisfying. The still life subject matter is kind of boring. If I get one finished that looks decent, I'll post it.

Barbara Pask said...

This is beautiful! Very interesting too. The bird is great and the background keeps your eye moving around with all the different shapes.

Your class sounds great, good for you taking on that challenge. I have signed up for a workshop this summer with Patti Mollica, looking forward to that. Thanks for visiting me

neetzy said...

Thanks Barbara,
I don't blog as much as I used to, but its nice to go visit painters!