Thursday, March 17, 2011

Red-Crowned Crane

This has a little bit of a story to it!

I have some new fancy watercolor paper that I wanted to try. Because of the expense of the paper I decided I wanted to do a meaningful painting on it so I planned it out carefully and painted with my normal techniques. Well, this paper just didn't get along with me and we fought. My normal technique which serve me well on my other paper exploded into disaster... and since I was using staining colors I knew I couldn't lift it all back off and re-do it. I was frustrated and felt as if I had wasted some expensive materials and two days worth of time. I think we all feel this way sometimes, as artists!

Stubbornly, I scanned it in anyhow. Why the heck not! And using a photo edit program I simply removed all the color from the background. Suddenly, it made sense again! Though the washes are still a disaster (to me), now the patterns were far more interesting, and the unsaturated background against the minimum colors of the crane seemed to speak more loudly of their plight.

While there is possibly some merit to the color version, I think the edited one is more powerful for my original message.

This is a Red-Crowned Crane (Grus japonensis), as with my other crane paintings it is inspired from seeing these birds in person. This bird is also called the Japanese Crane, or Manchurian Crane. These fantastic cranes carry much symbolism on their winged shoulders for Asian countries, where they can be known as a symbol of luck, longevity and fidelity. Despite this, it is rare, and endangered, with probably less than 1,500 of them left in the wild.

You can learn more about them and how to help if you'd like by visiting the International Crane Foundation: [link]

"Red-Crowned Crane" (modified) 10" x 16" Watercolor on Cold Press (background color removed digitally)

 "Red Crowned Crane" 10" x 16" Watercolor on Cold Press (as originally painted)

Which do you like more? Which one has a stronger message?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

White-Naped Crane

I've been pretty ill lately and while I haven't been able to sit and smush my brushes with acrylic paint, I was able to curl up into my chair and make some shapes with watercolors and a bamboo brush.
As an artist it always feels a little silly to say that I'm "in-between" projects.. because for me, every thing I do is in-between something else!  So while this was certainly painted in-between other things I am working it, it is no less of a painting.

This is inspired by the cranes at the Woodland Park Zoo; this individual was going through a long preening ritual that I find so engrossing. I love preening poses and hope to paint them more into my personal work over time.
"White Naped Crane", Watercolor on 140 lb. rough

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hooded Crane

A lovely hooded crane, inspired by some individuals that I 'visited' in January at the Woodland Park Zoo.

Chunky with impasto (which never scans properly of course).

Many species of crane worldwide are seeing a decrease in population, which is putting many on the endangered or threatened species list. To learn more about crane species and how to help if you want to, check out the International Crane Foundation: Some crane species are critically endangered.
Like many of my paintings, once I get this one ready for sale, I will pledge a % of the sale to be donated to the ICF.

 "Hooded Crane" , 5" x 7" Acrylic on Hardboard.