Still Life with a Bird

"Vogel-Figured" 12 x 12 Pastel on Paper Click here to buy print: What to do when I have a rare bit of quiet in the morning and don't know what to paint? Still life! I have way too many little knick-knacks around the house, which I keep available because I intend to paint them some day. This is one of two little bird figurines given to me last year. The second one is sitting in my broken pile, waiting for glue. Between a house full of cats, a toddler, and my own personal set of butterfingers, most of these figures end up broken. I've always liked the shape of these birds, and thought it would be good practice for me to paint the still intact bird as a daily painting. One of the most memorable painting tips I've read was from my Chinese brushpainting book: when painting a bird, keep to the form of an egg. This little bird is particularly-egg shaped, making it easy to follow that piece of advice. I went for a square shape on the paper (still need to fill up those square frames!) and tried to fill the majority of the space with the bird's form. I debated on using a different color for the stand, but since the bird and its little stand are all attached, I kept them unified with the same colors. Even when painting an animal that isn't real, I manage to inject a little attitude into the animal's face. I really wanted to paint a sweet-faced little bird, but as usual, ended up with something different. I guess animals--even fake ones-- are more interesting when they have difficult personalities. What inspired the name? "Vogel" is the German word for bird. To see some paintings of real-life animals with attitude, click here:


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