I just completed a new work, inspired by the flight of starlings. For years I have watched in awe as a flock of birds take flight to dramatically form a series of changing patterns in the sky. In perfect synchronicity, the flock swoops, changes direction, and the pattern seamlessly morphs into a new shape. The shapes are liquid in the sky, as they blend from one organic shape to the next. Inspired, I wondered how to capture this on paper with paint?
This spring, I took a 1/2 sheet of watercolor paper and poured a sky that blended from blue to golden as it touched the desert horizon. Big sky in Nevada. By pouring paint in a series of glazes, underlying layers are preserved while developing a depth of color and enhanced luminosity. This beautiful background needed a center of focus- the birds I have been forever dreaming about!
How to start? How to capture the dynamic fluidity of this aviary phenomenon? Each night I dreamed how I would approach the painting. Each morning I awoke and found I couldn’t attempt it. I didn’t know how to begin; I couldn’t feel “the flow. ” Finally I settled on my pigments- Windor blue shade, alizarin crimson permanent, and burnt sienna. I made a small practice painting.
Encouraged with the results of that bird study and before I could “chicken out,” I jumped into the large painting. I knew the painting would either end as an unmitigated disaster, or it would become a delightful surprise. Each time I reloaded the brush, I added a different pigment to my palette mixture from my base colors to influence the tone. The dynamic shape of the flock subtly changed in hue as it grew on my paper. I continued to add defined bird shapes to the edges and loose bird groupings in the center, striving for a strong abstract shape and interesting movement throughout the painting. The painting succeeds in capturing the dynamic movement of a flock of birds in the dance of flight.
Nature inspires wildlife to create beautiful creations of their own. Enjoy this video showing a pufferfish creating a beautiful mandala to attract a mate. Pufferfish
Left to right, clockwise: Millipede, exhibiting its main defense mechanism, curling into a spectacular spiral, which protects its legs inside its body. A celestial spiral, the Aurora Borealis, in the skies above Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Finally, a collection of diatoms, microscopic algae. These images were found on National Geographic. Enjoy more here: National Geographic link
The Ah Haa School of the Arts in Telluride is still accepting registrations for my watercolor class. To register, click the following link: Cheri Isgreen Watercolor Workshop