Magpie Mania


This is where I spent my day. In front of the easel mixing up blends, trying to get that background to melt into the background. Giving in to the docile inrush of the unconscious, I blobbed texture in the sky, using acrylic gel that makes the paint stand up in waves. The birds no longer flap through the air, they are plainly painted, with chunky spackle pushing against their feathers from every side. And I’ve given myself another challenge: to blend out every edge possible, so that if there is a sharp corner or line it has extra meaning and is deliberately done. The background now has a painstaking mix of cobalt blue and white lapped over burnt umber and white. An off-white pink with off-white blue. I spent almost all of Christmas day creating that blend, back and forth with a flat brush.

Today I worked the magpies’ heads almost exclusively, tilting the front bird’s head upward, and making corrections to the rear bird’s eye placement, bill and head size. And trying to give the bills some volume (not quite there yet) and some shine to the black feathers of the head. Tomorrow I’ll put the purple and green sheen over the wings and tail, and maybe get the whites into the primaries. That should perk them up.

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