Work in Progress: Pelicans, Update 3
The Pelicans and Finishing Up
More detail went into the Pelicans than anywhere else. They were the focus of the painting. I felt more confident doing detail work with pastel pencils, so, for the most part, I used the pencils on the birds, with only a little soft pastel.
The heads and bills of the birds became my first focus. Pitt Pastels 113, 106, 184 and Carb Othello 685 and 620 were used, along with soft pastel Sennelier 342. The base color white for the head was PP 101 and then PP 199 and 175 were used for the darks of the pouch part of the bill that runs along the neck. For the top of the head, the yellows and gold were PP 106, 104 with 184 for the shadow areas. After completing the heads I worked on the bodies. They were mostly grays with darker values defining the feathers Here I used PP 101, 270, 175, 273 and 199. On the underside of the bodies I used some blue to indicate reflected color from the water.
The eyes were defined with lights and darks so that the pupils would show up. This is one feature of pelicans that seems to be common to most of them. A light color ring around the eye sets off the dark pupil. The outer edge of the light colored ring is also dark. Surrounding the eye is a lighter area of brown.
After completing the birds I went back to the water. Using a combination of the pencils and soft pastels, I refined the small waves and reflections from the birds on down to the bottom. Off to the sides of the painting I purposely left less detail. I also worked in the wakes behind the birds to give a feeling of motion
As I mentioned in the last Update, I was unsure of some of the dark reflections in the water. I removed some and dumbed down others, while smoothing and softening the colors. Simplifying the waves and reflections helped to draw some attention away from the water and shift it more onto the birds.
This painting is a fairly simple one. In this painting much of the detail is confined to the pelicans and the water adjacent to them. Further away, toward the top of the painting, and to the sides and bottom, detail diminishes, keeping attention directed on the birds. Originally I had more detail in the water, with a greater number of reflections. I think simplifying the water was the right move. That left the pelicans as the main focus.