Old television episodes of Superman back in the 1950s began with those shouted exclamations.
“Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s Superman!”
Nothing about my painting for today is super in any way. It’s not faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, or able to leap tall buildings with a single bound.
But, look! Up in the sky! It’s… well, it’s supposed to be a bird.
Actually before it was a bird, it was supposed to be a barn. Yep, I tried drawing and painting an old barn based on the drawing I found recently. Obviously, it did not turn out well.
I wiped it all away and found myself left with a rather intriguing canvas. I liked the muted, wintry colors, and I wanted to do something with it. Last week I was doing silhouettes of birds in flight, so I thought it would be good practice to attempt doing one in oil.
It’s still hard for me to find exactly the best brush for fine details, and it’s still quite a challenge for me to get the right consistency in my paint. The success of a silhouette, I’ve been told, lies in whether or not it’s recognizable for what it is.
So, I ask you, please, look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? Or is it some weird unidentified flying object? I know, I know. You’ll all be kind enough to say, “Oh, yes, it’s definitely a bird.” Thank you.
You can tell I had problems with the tree branches, too. Getting fine, delicate lines is hard for me. Maybe I need even smaller brushes than what I’ve been using. Maybe I just need lots more practice.
In the end, that’s what this painting was all about. It was a great opportunity for me to practice, and while the bird and the branches aren’t very good, I do like the bark on the tree. I’m always happy if I can find at least one thing I like in a painting.
I’d love to hear from oil painters who can give me a bit of advice. How do you create those very fine lines in your paintings? What size brushes do you use? What tricks, tips, or techniques can you share to help me improve?