oil on 1/4 wood panel
[source photo courtesy of C. Marine]
oil on canvas board
[source photo courtesy of C. Sheeter]
An unexpected break from the landscapes - I honestly didn't consider that chickens would be the subject matter for any paintings this week. But, it sounded like so much fun that I just had to try it. And, I enjoyed painting "Ethel" yesterday afternoon that I started on "Freddie" last night after the brownish madder I used to tone the canvas was dry. I finished him up late this morning.
Of course, I have never painted a bird or chicken before. I've been wanting to paint more animals ever since I did Observation Deck. Unfortunately, I didn't have a single reference photo of a chicken, so I went with Carol's provided photo and one found in the Reference Image Library on WetCanvas for Freddie's.
I like chickens, actually. They are clearly unaware of their low order on the food chain, and you always hear stories about how mean roosters can be, especially when defending their hens. The look in Freddie's eye tells you he is not to be trifled with.
This very short video never fails to make me laugh:
Ethel started out with a pencil sketch onto the board, but with Freddie, I jumped right in with the oils, making some corrections as I went. The easiest parts of the paintings to do, beside the backgrounds? The eyes. Probably not what most people would say, but back when I was doing mixed media equine sculpture, I painted many tiny equine eyes. And quite well, I might add. They are the key of animal (or most human) portraits - if the eyes aren't right, the painting fails.
The hardest part was trying to get Freddie's feathers to look acceptable. He is a Barred Rock rooster, and the black and white feather pattern is complex to say the least. The extreme darks of the feathers in the photo didn't translate so well to a painting, so here it is just suggested; I ended up wiping it off twice before settling on this final version.
Palette used: alizarin crimson, cadmium reds dark & medium, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, ultramarine blue.
Can't ever be too far from the landscapes, but I'm really liking these chickens. I have a few more reference photos, so who knows?