Thursday, April 03, 2008

Great Blue Heron

Now we skip twelve years ahead to when we moved from upstate New York to Connecticut. I had by that time acquired water colors and a taste for Hiroshige whose wood block prints I had first seen in the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY.

We bought his book Hiroshige Birds and Flowers and I was very inspired by its 91 color plates. I decided to try and copy them into water color paintings which turned out to be much easier to decide than to do.

This first painting is of a Great Blue Heron fishing. Though Hiroshige never did this painting himself, it is in his style. I did three washes, one at the top for the sky, one at the bottom for the mud and one for the water line. Then I painted the bird and the cattails. I added some small fish for interest and because I am a fish fanatic. I was quite tempted to go at this painting with my India ink and draw all over it as I did with the little fish, but I resisted. Do you think I was correct in this decision and the painting is finished? Click to enlarge.

I’m not quite satisfied with it, but you know, the artist never is satisfied with their work. I think the composition is weak, it looks all pushed over to the right and will never frame well because of that. The heron is floating in the air and not grounded to anything. I could have done better painting his feet. I like how I painted the cattail heads and the washes and the bird’s neck. I would love to hear your comments on this painting.


thonnibg said...

I think it`s fabulous!
The only remark is[as you noticed yourself]that the heron is not grounded to anything.But I wouldn`t notice that if you kept your mouth shut:)
I really love it!

Doug said...

That was the only thing that bothered me, the heron not being grounded. Love the yellow with the blue.

Yvespaul said...

It's so Asian. Great job, Sue.

ehirano said...

Hi Sue

We´ve been around almost the same blogs for a while now, but I have never been at yours, you are doing a great job here. Love it!

About your Great Blue Heron painting, I can only recommend you that if you are interesting in Japanese traditional art, start with some basics on the field, like practicing the way of using "Wash painting brushes" they are similar to the brushes used for calligraphy, then practice a technique called "Sumi-e", (probably you know what I´m talking about) That will improve your skills on wash painting, then the Hiroshige style won´t be any problem at all. With this I´m not saying your painting is bad, for the contrary, you are very talented, this meant to be just a respectful recommendation.

Keep on the good work.

Sue said...

Thank you for complementing my blog Hirano San! I have tried sumi-e, but with my western style water color brushes and they look childish in my opinion. Though, I realize that in Japan students study the techniques for years to accomplish expertise and I was not using the correct tools. If I do go back to it, I will purchase the correct brushes for the task. At the time, I didn't even realize that I had the wrong brushes, so I am indebted to you for this advice. I cannot thank you enough!

ehirano said...

Yes students learn calligraphy at a very young age. And yes again, you need the right brushes, ink and paper to do the job, if you ever feel that you want to practice with this technique again and if you also feel that I could help you with something, I´ll be pleased to do so. You have what it really counts after all, and that´s talent.


Sue said...

Again, I am honored Hirano San. Thank you. We'll see. :)

Anonymous said...

i think it's lovely... and i love the cattails. my favorite part :)

Anonymous said...

Hello Sue,

I love the simplicity of this work.
No clutter, so you eye is immediately drawn what you are conveying.
This painting is very similar to a haiku.


Sh@ney said...

I love it Sue, simplicity and me get along very well...Anything above that and I become the 'Master of Mess' Though I love painting, I really don't think I have the gift. As for finished? You could go either way Sue & it would still look nice...But then this is advice from somone who can't nail to boards together without getting it

Sh@ney said...

Hmmm then there is grammar & spelling of course: TO is meant to be TWO!!!!...