Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Watercolor Weekend - Feather Study



Feather Study

 6x4in  watercolor on Arches paper

Artist Note
This is the first study I have done
of an Eagle Feather. I want to try
painting it in oil.
It is such a long feather at 11 inches
I feel I need to find a way to show
the scale of it. I understand now
why an inkwell is usually shown
with a quill.
Any ideas - or do you think it really
needs to show the size?




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42 comments:

  1. I love the featherness.......so I do not care so much about the size. You captured the color and the grace. Delicate yet strong. Another object might not enhance this. Just my opinion. Have a great week Julie.......

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    1. Your post today really helped me with my scale/size dilemma. It worked no matter what size your container was. Thanks Helen

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  2. Hi Julie, your wonderful feather paintings are very calming, holding a spiritual and mystique mood !!!
    Have a nice week !!!

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    1. Nice of you to word it that way because your olive tree painting evokes the same response in me.

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  3. Why not throw in the inkwell? It is a good way to imply the size of the feather, as you've noted. I love that rich brown at the end of the feather. I've never seen an eagle up close so this is awesome! And thank you too for your heartfelt comment. It means so very much!!

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    1. If you could see it in the real, Sherry, you would be in awe. The strength in the spine is amazing and hope to capture that in oil.
      I am genuinely thrilled your hubby got a job - a good one too, and you will be able to celebrate Thanksgiving in earnest.

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  4. I like this the way it is, without object to give it scale.

    It is beautiful and graceful in your study.

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    1. Thanks jean. I think it works just as a feather study in watercolor this free and easy view, but to really get into the meat of painting this amazing feather I want to explore the strength of it. You understand that because I see when you paint a person who has strong features you manage somehow to make us feel the strength you see. You do not have anything else with them to do that so I will explore your work more and if possible - figure out how you do it..

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  5. It is a beautiful feather, I love the earthiness( I think I say it every time). It's hard to say if placing with a point of reference would help it or take away from it. I feel it is more about the feather like this.

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    1. Thanks Celia, that why I asked...it is not easy is it.
      Looking at your landscape before and after adding the car inspires me to try adding something though. I could tell I liked the addition very much.

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  6. Your paintings of feathers are beautiful, so soft and life-like, almost like they would move if you blew on them. I think proportion is more important than size. Can't wait to see it in oil.

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    1. Thanks so much Twinkle. I see you have actually got a Google so I can see how pretty you are. Always nice to place an image with a comment.

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  7. Julie, The feather is stunning, delicate yet at the same time strong, I love the range of values too...that strong, rich dark is key.

    My feeling is that adding an inkwell would demand more of a story and distract from the feather. Have you considered a slight cast shadow?

    Thanks so much for your kind comment on my blog today!

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    1. What a good point about more of a story. Thanks. I had enough of that when I was an illustrator. It took me forever to learn not to hit someone over the head with my focal area. So I will watch out.
      I really got a lot out of your post about our big muscle the brain and hope you get a lot of comments on it..

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  8. It's beautiful the way it is, Julie.!!! I love the color in this feather.

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    1. Thanks mucho Hilda. You always are supportive and I love you for it..

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  9. Julie, try holding the tip in your left hand with your palm facing you and add your fingers to the painting for scale. Just keep your hand 'muted.' It'll be interesting to me anyway.

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    1. This is an interesting idea and I thank you for it. I will be trying some positions holding it. My friend who has loaned me the feather is an American Indian and I will try his hand first.

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  10. I always thought it was turkey feathers that were used with inkwells rather than eagle feathers. Julie, I think an eagle feather has a whole aura about it. It held so much significance religiously, historically, and culturally to the Native American people. I think scale IS important to impart the exceptional meaning of the feather, and believe me it is held in such high regard. But, I wouldn't put any object that would lessen the reverence for it or distract from it.
    Perhaps something of nature. Maybe it could be laying on the ground at the foot of a tree, beside a rock formation, hanging from a branch, maybe with a faint, suggested eagle's head in back, or a hand as Anonymous suggested.

    However you do it, I know it will be special and show deep respect.

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    1. I really appreciate this thoughtful comment. You are correct in every way. Just holding the feather gives me goose bumps and if you see the previous reply I mentioned seeing what I would respond to if my friend held it.. I also like the idea do having it in a natural setting. Of course I think of a nest because I love nests...but other natural places like you suggested have my mind in a wonderful whirl of possibilities. I am grateful.

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  11. I am enjoying your feather paintings so much, Julie because I am an amateur "collector". I find feathers on my walks and keep them tucked here and there because they're so beautiful. You might consider including some acorns in your painting of the Eagle feather. It would show the strength and size of the feather and for me, acorns and Eagle feathers are linked by their importance to our local California Indians.

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  12. Thanks for the good suggestion. It fits in nicely with Carol's -see above. I will look into the acorn and Indian link. Makes sense as we have acorns here in the southwest too.
    I enjoyed visiting your blog and am not a follower.

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    1. Laughing when I read not a follower. Naughty keyboard. I AM now a follower

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  13. I often do things in a totally different size than life size, cherries and blueberries as large as a man's head (or at least a child's head). All depend on the feather. Can one tell without the size that it is an eagle feather? If I should have played with the size, I would ad something that show the size different, something that could make an interesting combination.
    Love the sketch and it's simplicity.

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    1. Thanks Roger. it seems to be running 50 -50 half say include something and the others say no. I have had such good suggestions I may be doing a few different ways.
      Love your stunning nests today.

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  14. Julie - as always your feathers look beautiful. I know you will come up with the perfect solution to show size (if you think it is important. Can't wait to see it finished. Hope you have a beautiful Thanksgiving.

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    1. Thanks Debbie - I visited your lovely photos and am glad I did.

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  15. You are so creative Julie however you chose to render this in oil will be beautiful. If working in oil how about a light on the feather in a dark background?

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    1. Good idea Blanche. I can see it done several ways now - all the suggestions are opening up my mind.
      Love your story about visiting the different islands and your painting is lovely.

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  16. Your feather studies have been so inspiring to me Julie! I have been marveling at each one - they are each a "landscape" unto themselves. I don't know that it 'needs' another object...(even for scale)...though I do KNOW that YOU are the one that could pull it off- and it would be wonderful!

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    1. How supportive and encouraging you are. I appreciate the vote of confidence and wish I felt it myself. I paint these very personal feather paintings to satisfy my need to communicate with paint what I have an emotional response to. I love almostpainting anything, but some things go deeper. Do you find the same thing?
      Your calendar sold out! Not surprising - it was fabulous.

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  17. It's a beautiful feather. I don't know the answer to your question though which I think is really how to convey the grandeur and gravity of such a beautiful object. Maybe in comparison with other feathers?

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    1. You are right of course, Libby. You can imagine that I would need something like a raven feather for the size . One too small and maybe it would be out of balance. Will give it a go. One thing I can try all these suggestions and see which ones I like the best.
      I enjoyed your photographs. Looking forward to seeing the paintings.

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  18. Julie, I would like to see something giving it scale. The acorn idea and the hand idea are both awesome. Something that might be tuff but really lovely would be a faded image of an eagle in your shadows. Something very light and sly so that it is hardly there with the feather on top of that image. Just a thot.... Also, I would like to see just a bit more detail in the feather itself. just a stinky little opinion. xxoo

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    1. Laughing at stinky! Some good thoughts passed on in this funny advice - love sly! Definitely will have more detail in oil. Have to try the eagle sounds good.
      Thanks Lavon. (Cold enough for you - really cold here.)

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    2. yep, really cold! my poor little min pin, Princess, had to spend the day in her pin while I was at work instead of the run with the other hardier dogs. There is an old saying, opinions are like butts, they both stink and everyone has one." LOL. so I always comment on my "stinky" opionion and try to keep it in mind when I give one, hoping it doesn't stink too much. 8)

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  19. Maybe showcase the rich color of the feather on a bed of muted orange pine needles with a pine cone laying nearby. So many options, but what comes from your heart will probably be the right choice.

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    1. I love the idea of the muted pine needles with a cone nearby. Feathers or not it sounds wonderful.
      I really like your painting at the lake. The lights reflecting in the water.

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  20. I like Pat's idea, but it is the shape and negative painting around the whites that are really lovely to me.

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    1. I agree and that's the beauty of watercolor, but oils have a different feel. After all these suggestions I cannot wait to see what I come up with..
      Love your pink house.

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  21. Beautiful painting, Julie......no need to show the scale.

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  22. Lovely painting, good study.
    Hugs!

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I love that you are taking the time to comment and thank you for it. I am sure other readers will enjoy them too. If you cannot comment through this format then email me at juliefordoliver@gmail.com
Cheers,
Julie