A Look Back

A Look Back.  This is a transparent watercolour on Arches 300 lb. paper. As transparent as those darks can be that is.  To achieve the depth of colour I had to apply eight washes.  I always get a little nervous when applying deep colours with a fine brush as sometime the point springs a little and little dots of colour appear where you do not want them.  This time was no exception.  However, I saw them as they happened and thankfully was able to clean them right up. I seem to be a little introspective these days and it is showing up in my art.  Unsure if it just the long winter or I am searching for something.  The title of this painting seems fitting somehow.  I tried to come up with a clever title, but this name kept coming back to me.  And the raven is looking back.A Look BackThis is the last painting in this series of raven paintings - as least for now.  I have been painting quite a few birds recently and it got be thinking. I started to marvel at the fact they do not have arms and hands.  This may sound silly, but I think it must be very awkward for them to have to use their beaks for everything. Can you imagine if you had to use your nose and lips to move things around and pick things up with your hands tied behind your back?  Just thinking is all....

And speaking of looking back here are the two previous Ravens paintings in this series:

"Call of the Raven" and "The Sentry"

Watercolour painting of a raven by Helen Shideler

Water-color painting of a raven

These watercolour paintings are available on my web site -  click HERE for more information.

WIP Call of the Raven

Call of the RavenI have to admit from the moment I started thinking about this watercolour raven painting  I was unsure what to call it -  so I uploaded photos of the work in progress so far and then it hit me "Call of the Raven". Makes sense, it is certainly cawing about something important - I think. I did quite a bit of research with my good friend Google as to "what is a group of ravens called?"  The answer came back with a few possibilities such as "unkindness, constable, conspiracy and parliament".   I played with "Call to Parliament" , I tested it with a few friends but they really did not get it, even after I explained it a few times . Clearly, that would not work  - and I had to Google it too, remember?

I am working from a couple of reference photos I took this year in Yellowstone National Park. The ravens let me get very close to them to take their photos. I worked hard to shoot them in such a way to capture the iridescence of their colours.  They remind me of a pewter carving.  Or is it iron ore?  I love the colour variations.  And I have enough material to paint for a year.  More ravens are sure to follow!

This is a 1/4 sheet transparent watercolour. The various stages are shown below.  I was so darn sure I would be able to finish it this weekend - by no.  The kink in my neck from leaning over my drafting table caused by leaning over to work in pretty meticulous detail got the best of me. Time to change my posture.

Current working on the face area - then on to the shoulders and the rest of the wing.

Back at it tomorrow!   Clink the link to see the earlier stages and the colours I am using

Call of the Raven - WIP Helen Shideler Call of the Raven WIP Helen Shideler Call of the Raven by Helen ShidelerColours are shown above - only I am not using Davy's fray after all - keeping this painting transparent.