Origin and evolution

 I have a folder that lives in the cloud where images get dumped, inspirations for future paintings. The images come from a multitude of places: my camera, social media memes, Google searches, and Facebook. When I am trying to figure out what to paint next, that folder is my go to destination. 

I had seen a publicity still from the movie Dances With Wolves a number of days ago featuring "Kicking Bird" played by Graham Greene, the Oneida actor from Ontario. I scooped a copy of it and stashed it in the inspiration file. A notion popped into my head to try a portrait using the set of palette knives I picked up a few days ago. This publicity still seemed like a good choice as a reference to try this technique. 

I drew a grid and sketched out the picture very loosely in pencil. Black paint followed. Once it was dry, I grabbed my palette knives and some colours and started exploring. By the time I was ready to call it a night, the painting was a big hot mess. I didn't even snap a picture of it. 

The following day, I brought out the brushes and started a new approach to the subject. Much like the small paintings I have done lately of birds, I decided to go on a "paint what I see" journey. The palette knife work underneath provided a great start and some added contours which guided the process. 

I should share that we have company right now. My sister and brother-in-law are staying with us for the week. Chris is taking a major emergency management course a few blocks from here along with over a hundred first responders from across the province. Corinne came along for the ride to hang out with us, and check out our new SEED Home. This means I had to dismantle my temporary studio and turn it back into the guest bedroom it is intended to be. I set up my easel and painting gear on a small patch of our TV room/library in this situation taking up the smallest footprint possible. Working on smaller projects in this scenario feels way more comfortable. In the case of this portrait of "Kicking Bird", it is an 11" by 14" canvas. 

I ended the day quite happy with the result. My only hesitation is that I can't decide if I like its muted quality or if I want to punch up the colours and contrast. That was my process this morning. Looking at the painting with fresh eyes will helped me take it to its conclusion.
Kicking Bird, 11" x 14", acrylic on canvas


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