Sunday, November 1, 2015

Blood Moon and Egg Thief

Blood Moon Offering 26" x 30" Oil on Canvas

I've been planning these two paintings for some time now, working out the design, size and background.  The raven in Blood Moon Offering is from a great photo by Gordon Vanus, taken in bright daylight with blue skies ( I added the sunflower and Ken took the moon shot).

I was still unsure as to what the background on Blood Moon Offering was going to be, but I had already painted the raven and the sunflower onto the canvas in gray tones when the Lunar Eclipse happened the evening of Sept 27th.  I watched the moon transform herself as Ken took picture after picture on the tripod, and soaked up the deep mystery of the night sky. The next morning, I knew exactly what to paint.  Had to change the colors of the raven from bright daylight to deep, dark night.  Used a very limited palette of alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue in the night sky, with a touch of ochre brushed into the distant mountains, far below.  The moon has red and yellow cadmiums along with the purple from the sky.  No tube black in the raven, just deep purples.  This piece just got juried into Masterworks of New Mexico which will exhibit starting April 1 in Albuquerque, NM at Expo New Mexico.
"The Egg Thief" 30" x 26" oil on canvas copyright Katy Widger 2016
The Egg Thief is a  soft morning sky in summer with ultra and cerulean blues, quinacridone magenta and cad yellows.  No tube black in this raven, either.  This raven pic shot by my husband, who set up a "blind" and waited patiently for hours on several days, "baiting" our resident raven with eggs in order to get the shot. Actually, he took a whole video of this raven, landing on a post, picking up the egg, dropping it then catching it in his beak and taking off, all without breaking it! Quite amazing to watch!  How strong, yet how precise and controlled their beaks are!   He knows my husband and comes to get his egg on a regular basis, now, less wary but still unwilling to have his picture taken, like most ravens. You have to pay your models!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Western Bluebird on a Metal Post

Western Bluebird on a Metal Post  oil on canvas on board 14" x 11" copyright K. Widger
Late spring in Edgewood, a male Western Bluebird sits on a metal post not far from the nest box, watching over his growing family of nestlings.  He faithfully catches insects and deposits them in the waiting beaks of his little children, and takes turns with his mate as she takes time out of the nest box to feed herself.  He is so faithful and dedicated to his family and an inspiration to fathers everywhere!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Evening Flight

"Evening Flight" 18" x 36" Oil on Canvas copyright 2015 K. Widger
Finished!  Signed and photographed, framed and ready for entry into next juried show! Will also be showing this at The Watermelon Gallery in Cedar Crest, NM.  Really enjoyed painting this one.  It was a challenge, but I'm very pleased with the way it turned out, especially the cranes.  Strived to get the anatomy correct and their flying formation accurate, as the cranes lift off from their watery refuge at the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge in Socorro, NM.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Morning Praise

"Morning Praise" 20" x 20" Oil on Canvas copyright K Widger 2015
 Morning breaks with first light of the sun, that soft rosy glow that eases over the eastern horizon, then sparkles with the dew, like opalescent rainbows on the new day!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Developing another crane painting

Original reference, cropped and "photoshopped", sized for an 18" x 36" canvas.
This one may be called "Taking Flight".  Another crane painting.  Ken took the shot at Bosque del Apache in the fall of 2013.  It's a gorgeous photo.  I pumped the color a bit, cropped it, sized it and re-arranged it a bit.  I drew the cranes one at a time, pulling them out of the photos (some were so jumbled up in one area that it was a little difficult to discern what they were doing, what attitude their wings were taking, which is what I was after.)  You can see my thumbnail in the previous post.  I also did a charcoal of the background, figuring out the values, before I did the following underpainting:
Underpainting done on canvas toned with yellow ochre.  I painted with burnt sienna and ultramarine.
Charcoal drawing of cranes, "to size", about 6" each, trying to capture each wing attitude.

I painted in the cranes using values of Ivory Black in 7 steps.  Now I will start on the "second statement" using local color. I will follow as closely as possible the values I have set out in this underpainting.

Developing a painting

Ideas come first.
Inspired by nature, events, locations, experiences, feelings, music, lyrics,  photographs, the idea begins to take on a life of its own. Sometimes they compost for quite some time until they begin to take physical form. Sometimes they just present themselves to you in whole cloth, waiting for paint to transform them into two-dimensional images on canvas.  Inspiration!  How exciting and energizing!
Artists live for it!  It is the life blood that motivates us to spend countless hours developing our craft and skills, to earn paltry sums for our talents, and to not care, if only we can paint what our heart sees, and make you see it, too!

Here's a few pictures of the "beginning" of a painting, as yet far from finished.  Here's what goes into making a painting, and how "long it takes."
Original sketch of "inspiration":  standing crane, charcoal and white conte on newsprint.

Thumbnail sketches from sketchbook, working out design idea on various planned paintings.
Finished, working drawing "to size" for planned painting "Morning Praise" along with reference photo.

First "statement", a rough "underpainting" showing value and temperature. 

Long Time Gone

It's been a long while since I've posted.  Illness robbed my energy and kept me out of the studio for many months last year, and posting to my blog slid down the list of importance.

Overcoming the little and not-so-little adversities in life takes perseverance and patience, I've found.
I'm back in my studio now, painting, drawing, sketching. Renewed vitality, interest and energy has me at my easel looking closely at birds, again.  Incredible creatures with above-average intelligence, they inspire me with their beauty and abilities we somehow overlook or fail to notice.  Ravens, especially, the smartest of all flying creatures, those wolves of the air, inspire me to paint their individual characters.

We have two ravens who live in our area, or, rather, we live in theirs.  My husband has lately taken to befriending them with eggs and other offerings, placed on a nearby post, in order to tease them into letting him take pictures of them.  It's sort of a trade; we give them treats, they let us take their picture.  They always take the goodies, and sometimes even caw their "thanks". But only occasionally do they let us take their picture. They seem to "know" the camera is there, even hidden in a blind, even set on "automatic" with no human present.  They have incredible eyesight.  Bernd Heinrich says they can see for a distance of two miles, accurately!  Hard for some to believe, but they also seem to possess a "second sight"of sorts, a telepathy that Rupert Sheldrake describes in his many intriguing books like "Dogs Who Know When Their Owners are Coming Home", and "The Sense of Being Stared At" along with "The New Science of Life"  that corresponds with his theory of morphic resonance.  Fascinating stuff! And makes perfect sense to those of us who know that life is more than the material.

I'm also painting cranes.  Sandhill cranes who winter at the  Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge in Socorro, NM have been the focus of our many trips down there in the fall.  I'm developing two paintings right now, and I'll post the sketches, preliminary drawings and underpaintings that I've done so far, so you can see what actually goes into producing an oil painting (in part, to answer the oft asked question, "How long did it take you to paint that?").  And I just this day received notice that two of my crane paintings were accepted into the national juried show, "Encantada", sponsored by the Rio Grande Art Association.  It will be July 10-26 at the Fine Arts Bldg at the EXPO New Mexico in Albuquerque.

Here are the two finished crane paintings that will be in the show:
Lone Crane Still Water, 14" x 14" Oil on Canvas, Framed, $650. copyright 2015 K Widger

Evening Preen, 14" x 14" Oil on Canvas, Framed, $650. copyright 2015 K Widger