You can see where the masking film leaked on the flying bird's flanks. Baaah.
I start with the underwing of the lower bird. Yes, it's quite blue. Remember, all this is in deep shadow, except for the lit-up parts.
Moving on with the underpainting for Bird #1. I model it all in lavender-blue-gray.
The bird is heavily barred with brown, but I've got to get the whites keyed right on it so that it reads as being in shadow, so that's why the underpainting is shadow-bluish. I'm leaving the extended wing white because the sun will be coming through it.
As you can see from this detail, I've been working on the grass, too, while painting the bird. As the bird comes into focus, the grass has to, too.
Now you can start to see which parts of the bird will be lit up. The light is coming from behind him, and that means his translucent wing--the one toward the sun-- will be lit up as the sun shines through it. The near, foreshortened wing is in shadow.
At last, I'm having fun. Heavily barred birds are fun to paint. The challenge, as with painting grass, is to keep the barring from looking too mechanical or orderly. You don't want the bird to look fake or manufactured, just as you want to avoid that look in your habitat rendering.
See how I've left a rim of light all around the bird's outline? When something is backlit, it's got a halo of light around it. And the other thing about backlighting is that lights are very light, and darks will be correspondingly dark. Lots of contrast.And a yummy close-up to close this part of the series. Next, we'll move on to the flying bird, but that's another day. I've got to dream up what's going to be for dinner and not think about prairie chickens and low light for awhile.
Today's fun: digging a stuck car out of our driveway. It had to happen sometime, and we're amazed to have been able to get in and out the 1/4 mile long unplowed corridor for this long. There's only so long you can keep mushing through 4 fresh inches a day, though, and today's the day of reckoning. I look at my thickening waist (and Chet's) and try not to think about the fact that, in a normal February, I would be walking a balmy meadow, listening to the peent and twitter of American woodcocks right now, catching the scent of red maple flowers, hearing the small wet sounds of nightcrawlers under leaves. I hope the woodcocks are holed up with a hot toddy somewhere in Alabama right now, because they'd need a front-end loader to get to the nightcrawlers in southern Ohio. Fie upon this steady 24 degrees, fie upon thigh-deep snow. Fie upon putting out 20 pounds of bird seed a day, upon incessant shoveling, closed schools and young brains going to mush. We want out.