John A. Ruthven and me at SKB
The workshop was outstanding; the expertise was top-notch, of course, (John A. Ruthven! James Gurney! Morten E. Solberg! John Seerey-Lester!) but the support and camaraderie is what really made it special. Just as there are many sub-species of writers i.e., poets, journalists, novelists, screenwriters, etc., there are many sub-species of visual artists, as well; and while one can find a writer or artist in just about every town, it can be difficult to find someone who fits within your "tribe", as it were. My work doesn't find much of a niche in the Modern/Conceptual/Urban art ecosystem, so it was a joy to be amongst those who get my penchant for researching Victorian watercolors or sketching stuffed birds in museums.
Speaking of birds, here's a few photos of how I put my latest oil painting together. It's a Ptilinopus roseicapilla or Mariana fruit dove, also known as the tottot. They used to live all over the island of Guam in the Pacific, but are now quite rare and only found in the Northern Mariana Islands. We happen to have one at the Denver Zoo. He's so very lovely with his bright eyes and exotic colors.
The underpainting, done in burnt umber on gessoed hardboard panel.
Eye detail. I can't continue on until I get this right.
Defining the beak and starting the body.
Making adjustments to the bird before starting on the background.
I use a bathroom mirror to check lopsidedness and sometimes use the bright lighting for photographing my work.
Sometimes it helps to put a frame on your work to see how it's turning out.
The final painting.