Bird in an Autumnal Sumac



I haven’t made up my mind about this one. It is in oil. The new Earth Paints are a joy to work with but of course there are ways in which they behave much differently than my acrylics. I think this doesn’t match my desire to paint wild abstract-y interpretations but I really wanted to highlight the gorgeous shades of red of sumac leaves in the fall. Plus, I couldn’t resist the little bird 🙂  I’d love to hear what you think!

30 thoughts on “Bird in an Autumnal Sumac”

  1. I agree with you on all counts. The rich colors of the sumac are fine, and the bird draws viewers right in, as it did you. When I look back at your two previous posts, I find them to be more “wild abstract-y interpretations.” Do you know what you did differently to create those two? My guess—not being a painter, I have to guess—is that it was more a consequence of mood than of medium (i.e. the new paints).

    1. My guilty secret is, it is all in the photograph. When I use a so-so photo from which to leap, I find it much easier to be creative. Sometimes however my field photos are pretty good, and then I find myself basically copying them in paint. I am trying to break myself of this. So, sometimes I feel the painting is a success, but perhaps a failure at the same time.

      1. Have you ever tried purposely taking a reference photograph out of focus or with camera movement? I wonder if the lack of crisp details might more readily suggest a painting.

      2. After all these years of trying to take the best reference photos I could, it is funny now to think that that is what I’ll have to do but you are right. Mostly I think, just keeping focus on my purpose to extract from a scene what it is I want to express. I’ll get there, I think. If not, I’ll have a great time trying.

  2. I think this is wonderful, Melissa. 🙂 The colours are bright and rich, the bird the centre of attention attracts the eye, for it to move onto those glorious reds, and then the light and texture of those beautiful background greens.

  3. There’s a sense of light and clarity to this that seems new to me. The colors are beautiful, and the bird’s feet are especially well-done, but the detail I keep coming back to is the limb it’s perched on, and the trunks behind. They’re beautifully rendered, and solid. The leaves will fall and the bird fly, but the trunks will remain — until the leaves and birds return.

  4. Feeling a bit frazzled, it’s been that busy here, but thanks for this lovely break into another of your very soothing paintings. Wish I could put into words why your work draws me in so very pleasantly.

  5. I thought the oils brought out the lovely reds very well, Melissa. I find oils harder than acrylics to use also (well, I did many moons ago when I painted.) They do feel messier don’t they? The colours in this reminded me of the bright red shoots of some of our eucalypts. It’s a very joyful pic in my eyes. Bright and happy. 🙂

  6. Gorgeous! I love the colours of both the sumac and the sparrow. It really feels like birdwatching on a cool and sunny autumn in the late afternoon. I missed that this year. But your painting reminded me of last year. I think the “medium sharpness” of your strokes captures the effect of the cool-warm light. 🙂

  7. Oh, I didn’t realize a lot of places got blah colours this fall. I didn’t get to bird-watch much but I did walk to school quite a lot. Luckily, here, the fall was much drier and sunnier than this summer. The poplars turned bright butter yellow in early September. Later in the fall, I noticed the cotoneaster edges (Have you seen them turn? Such a wonderful variety of intense colours!) and the snowy mountain ash. I don’t recall any sumacs. They were more common in Vancouver.

  8. I’ve been meaning to plant some contoneasters for years but haven’t yet. For some reason I get resistance from my house mates. I love how they drape over walls. Plus, isn’t it a fun name to say? 🙂 I’m glad you got good color where you are. Our’s took awhile but did arrive and I have some glorious photos to work from.

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