So to get started I sat with my little girl at the kitchen table (see all of the pretty paintings she made while we worked?)
while I sketched some birds based on a bunch of photographs.
Then I started to paint. The surface was actually several pieces joined together - like the orignal "Nest" painting, I wanted to have a variety of materials to work on - canvas, natural wood, primed boards, etc. I also wanted the same shape - 24" x 48" - but a different division of space.
I moved the pieces around, trying different formations and color combinations. At first I really liked the circular feel of the bowl with the eggs, but once I looked at it together with the original "Nest" - it seemed too dis-jointed - like each piece was it's own little painting, and not coming together as one big piece.
So I switched gears a little bit - looked for one larger image that could intersect several quadrants and pull everything together. This wingspan felt powerful and magestic and incorporated all of the sections.
But there was a new problem - the curve of the tree on the left too closely mirrored the shape of the birds wings on the right - very repetitive, and boring. So I painted that section over again.
Now we were getting somewhere. The little silhouettes of white birds created a new sense of scale and pattern that didn't detract from the large set of wings. The colors were working together, within the painting and as a compliment to "The Nest"
After a little more definition and adding more color to the black wings, I added the bird on the lower right from my sketchbook. I needed an element in that corner to complete the big arc that was formed by the large black wings - something to bring the eye back into the painting.
This was an interesting experience for me, to re-visit a painting from several years ago, working with a limited time frame and different materials (acrylics vs. oils due to drying time). I liked that I could re-work the piece over and over, building up a history to the surface. If I had a chance to stare at it, live with it a little longer, I may have made a few minor changes. But on the other hand, it was nice to not dwell on it for too long - make a decission, and stick with it!