What Makes A Painting Work Art Blog
Robins must be one of the best loved birds. They find their way into our folklore, into our songs, and into our hearts. They also find their way into our art. I'm happy enough with the result that I've given some thought to why it works so well.
It think the greatest strength in this little watercolor is the way the bird's bright eye provides an exact focal point for the painting. This is a gift from nature, where close observation shows that the eye is surrounded by a thin white edge. The glossy surface of the eye reflects light to provide a white pinpoint in the center of the black eye. Notice that the white flower in the background is muted and is surrounded by a medium value green so that it does not distract from the focal point. Rarely in one of my paintings does the focal point fall so nearly on one of the golden spots described in composition instruction. These are the intersecting points which you get if you divide a sheet of painting paper or a canvas if you create lines dividing the painting surface into three equal parts across the sheet and three equal parts vertically.
Aside from the blue tones of the shadows, and the brown of the robin's body, the painting is predominately in compliments_reds and greens. Even the brown can be achieved by mixing red and green. The red, red robin is indeed complimented by its compliments. The eye is encouraged to follow the back of the robin down to the tail and swing back around to the red breast and the bright eye. The surrounding grass and foliage is in watery watercolor with soft edges. The short grass suggests a garden setting rather than meadow or forestland, but none of the greenery is detailed enough to be clearly identified. In actual fact I photographed the robin for later painting while I was at the Botanical Gardens in Boise, Idaho.