Thursday, June 25, 2015

Crows before Bros

Posted by: Dave

I recently have developed a new-found affinity for crows in my paintings.  Now, I'm not saying it's because of "Game of Thrones"... but it's because of "Game of Thrones".

(Jon Snow is my favorite mopey bastard.  He is the emo art student of the "Game of Thrones" realm)

For this painting, I once again used my taxidermy crow that I purchased through Ebay (before anyone asks where I found it) but had to find some additional elements before I got started.  Best place to find old piles of broken windows, doors, and barn wood is from your local unfriendly neighborhood hoarder/"antique dealer" who lives out in the middle of nowhere.  Even my GPS looked at me blankly when I entered this guy's address.  After about an hour of listening to him say "no no, that broken window isn't for sale, its my favoritist broken window" I managed to walk away with what I needed at grossly inflated prices.  After that, I began setting up my still life, trying to use much brighter colors than I am used to (my wife has been giving me flak for this for years. I mean, women and chromatic colors...right guys?)

I was pretty content with the narrative behind the piece.  Much like the crow, I too stand in front of the mirror all day admiring myself, so in some ways its really just a self portrait. I also got to paint under my brand spanking new skylight.

One of the most important things I learned from this still life is how much I hate painting rope.  I mean, I really really hate it.  Just when you think you are done, bam, more stupid rope on the other side of the bird.  And again, just when you see the light at the end of the tunnel--crap, more rope behind the crow I didn't notice.

 Drawing things out for the transfer.  Again, this helps with my cropping and working out as many drawing mistakes as needed before moving on.

 Ébauche.  A thin wash of color just to cover the surface.  Sets up the large tonal and color groupings. The paint is the consistency of thick coffee creamer or kittens blood.

 Beginning of first painting.  Large patches of color tones used to further define the drawing and create form.  The smallest details are still ignored at this point.

 Some woodgraining in effect.  Learned some tricks from my brother who is a faux finisher.

Some second painting on the onions.  Using medium and a thin application of paint to create more subtle transitions of tones and add small details.

Stupid rope...I hate you...

Final shot of the piece.


  1. Very nice...well done!!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Very nice David! I may have to try this Ebauche method at some point...