Friday, October 12, 2012

Duck on Ice

I've just finished this painting of two drakes and a duck for my exhibition which runs from November 3-18th.
People often ask me how I paint so I decided to devote a post to the process.
It always begins outside with my camera. I photographed these ducks when the pond in Huggate was frozen over in 2010. I kept the photograph on file, knowing that one day it would provide a useful study of duck feet.
But it wasn't until I sat down to work on my composition earlier this year that I realised I had this photograph taken in Brimingham in 2008. The way they were standing gave me the idea for a composition that I liked.I spend a long time on the composition of my pictures, sometimes cutting up my photographs and moving them about until I'm happy.
Then it's time to start painting the background. I paint on MDF board, covering the board with an acrylic primer first to protect it from the oil paint I will apply later. I used a roller to put this base blue colour down then added greens, blues and yellows with a brush to get the ice effect.
I then waited a week for the background to dry before I sketched out my subject over the top, getting the outline of the ducks on before blocking in the basic colours of the ducks to cover up all the pencil lines.

To get bird feathers to look authentic, I use a hog hair brush and drag my paintbrush in the direction of the feathers.For the finer detail I use a fine nylon brush which I replace every few days because it’s essential I have a brush with a fine point.
People often ask me how long it takes me to paint but I have never actually timed myself, mainly because I have to leave it to dry sometimes up to five times and each time for a week.
It’s always a great feeling when I’ve finished and I’m pleased with this one. The very last stage is thinking up a title and sometimes I’m really stumped for ideas. This year I asked my customers to come up with one. They picked M’llards and Lady – which I love.
I think it will make a good Christmas scene and so I intend to also print it as a Christmas card. The Malton Gazette published the story. Click here to read it in full.

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