Lessons to be Learned: Eclectus

It’s always insightful to look back on older works, particularly the ones that you were satisfied with, whilst cringing at those that didn’t. Whilst my artistic journey has now spanned almost 8 years, I’m intrigued about the lessons I can learn from myself. A bit of self-reflection goes a long way.

Eclectus Parrot Oil Painting on Canvas
Eclectus, Oils on 50 x 50cm Canvas, 2012

Looking back on this painting from 2012, I can instantly say that I love this painting, as much as I did when I had just finished it (I was so enthusiastic about this piece that, incidentally, I forgot to sign it – normally I sign a painting at around the 3/4 mark). It was one of those magic formulas that just worked. But rediscovering this piece almost three years on I realised that there are many aspects of it that I would have done differently, so much so that Imay re-work this piece in the coming days.

Here are my critiques:

1. It’s a little too dead centre.
Whilst I love that the branch effectively splits the composition in two, I would have re-positioned the parrot herself slightly further down the canvas, so the line of her head could follow the branch up into the top corner.

2. Bring out the blues.
What makes the Eclectus female so beautiful is that stunning red plumage, but the blue wing feathers and neck markings really pop too. More blue on the neck would have worked wonders.

3. Put her in harmony with her environment.
Whilst I love the texture of the background, I forgot one important rule; that the subject should reflect the colours of the environment, and vice versa. Some touches of green and yellow in her feathers would have brought her to life and made her more 3 dimensional.

But here are the positives:

1.Regal red.
This parrot is all about red, and whilst there are many reds supplied in tubes, it’s difficult to get the exact red that you want.

2.Those primaries.
I’m not talking primary colours, though the red/yellow/blue combination is evident on the left hand side of the canvas. The primary wing feathers have just the right amount of shadow and texture to make them project forward from her tail and make you want to reach out and touch them. I may extend and enhance the yellows in the background as perhaps the green is a little too dominant.

3.She’s got that look.
Either you’ve just raided her nest, or you’ve caught her on a cheeky escapade with another male; either way, she shouldn’t have caught you looking.

Oh, and of course another lesson to be learned: take a photo in natural light. That’s a job for tomorrow.

To find out more about commissioning a painting or to enquire about specific paintings for sale send me a message through my Facebook Page or take a look through at my website: cjwaterfieldart.com

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