Thursday, March 31, 2016

 I'll have an exhibition in Austria from the 1st of May. The theme will be Birds of Paradise ased on my expeditition to Papua New Guinea in 2014 and my work for the New Guinea field guide.
I've completed the biggest and most important painting for the show yesterday. Here's the working process.

 I did a preliminary sketch in watercolour:

I showed the sketch to my friends, and Thane Pratt, the author of the field guide suggested to mirror the bird for a better composition. I didn't want to do another watercolour sketch, so changed it in Photoshop:

My artist buddy, Márton Zsoldos felt that the tail was disturbingly prominent, so I put it behind the mossy branches. It's always good to have others' opinion in the working process.

I made a watercolour study of the bird itself, a male Stephanie's Astrapia, a species I've seen in the high elevation cloud forests:

It's my biggest oil painting ever, 70 x 100 cms. I drew the main elements in raw sienna. The grids helped me to get the composition right:

This is the first layer, the background, the main branches, the bird and the Pandanas leaves blocked in:

In the next step the background with the big Pandanas and some branches is roughly finished:

I've applied a thin glaze all over the background to achieve a more misty atmosphere and give more depth to the painting. The mossy branches on the left side are almost finished:

The Pandanas on the right is a very important element of the painting, probably even more important than the bird. I put a lot of work into it:

After almost completing the vegetation I strated working on the bird. In the field I only had brief views of such a beautifuzl male bird, so had to work from photos and videos on the internet and my museum studies from Vienna:

And here's the finished painting. I wanted to use the flow of the branches and leaves to achieve a good composition, hopefully I succeeded:

I've created a GIF file to show the whole process together: