I thought ya'll might like to see a bit of the "process" that goes in to my painting. Those are snarky air quotes because it's honestly nothing spectacular. I don't have a lot of great theory to back up my work, nor do I take it too seriously,maybe I'd be a better artist if I did. Who knows.
One of my hens died so I thought I'd add her to my Celestial Chickens series. The Celestial Chickens are just fun to paint. It's not a portrait of a person, so the stress of a true likeness is gone and chickens are just...awesome. I've painted this hen before, she's a polish and has super cool feathers. I wanted to name her Aretha for her great strut, but she wasn't smart enough so I named her Beyonce' instead.

 For this painting I went through photos I already had of Beyonce', since I couldn't shoot new reference. I wanted to show off her coloring and her great head feathers. I chose two pictures and used them as my jumping point to come up with an interesting composition. I decided to show her front and her back, as, true to her name sake, she was spectacular coming and going. The Celestial Chickens series have all been done in a square format. Designing in a square has recently become very hip (eye roll). I think it's fun and challenging. A square is a very static shape and you really need to pay attention to the design to keep it engaging for the viewer. 
I drew outlines of Beyonce' on tracing paper and then moved the images around until I found a spacing that pleased me.

 Then I traced the design on to the watercolor paper very lightly.
  I'm no composition genius. Sometimes my ideas work, sometimes they don't, sometimes I think they work, then I put them out there for people to see and realize I hate them. After I came up with a design I was happy with I tried out a few color combinations on a scrap piece of watercolor paper. For me, watercolor is all about luminosity, and a balance between control and the spontaneity of the medium.When you're doing watercolor, you pretty much need to have in your mind what you're going to do.  You can't just paint over it like you can with oils.You can't noodle around too much or it ruins the painting.  After I decided on my color palette I  put down my base layers of color and had some fun flicking gold pigment into the wet paint. In this photo you see the base layers and me adding some gold leaf. I'm burnishing it with my fingernail so it will stick to the adhesive and shine up. Then I brush off the extra leaf and it gets all over me and my studio.
Here's another essential to the creative process, another kind of gold leafing, but this one stick to my thighs. Have you had a Magnum bar? Have mercy.

After that I just add layers, going from lights to darks, trying to not get too stuck on details, trying to keep it fresh and enjoy the happy accidents that occur with watercolor.

And here's the piece. I usually keep it out to look at for a few weeks to make sure I really like it, but I'm just throwing this one out there. I may go back and change things later, who knows.
Hope you enjoyed this little glimpse in to the making of this piece. Are you a creator? How do you approach your work and what inspires you?


The Chicken Chick