|Watercolour by Eileen Gidman 7 1/2" X 10"|
|Trumpeter Swans, Canada Geese and Northern Pintail Ducks|
|My set up. Still a bit chilly for plein air painting.|
|This is what I accomplished on location. More darks and details are needed but there is a freshness that is, for me, often best achieved with location painting.|
I puzzled for some time, days in fact, what made the swans appear so white. The snow was a similar white but it didn't pop out like the swans. I knew I would have to sacrifice some of the whites to draw attention to the swans so I glazed the snow on the mountains with the blue of the sky. As well I toned down the geese on the left and the snow belt between the geese and the trees.
Those geese still weren't standing out the way I wanted. By chance in the studio, as I was working on final details from photos, I enlarged the one below. Then I could see that the swans were not only greyed on the underside but the were also shadowed with the blue sky colour. Adding that blue made all the difference for me achieving what I had in my mind.
Additional note, even though the geese in the foreground on the left are closer, I kept them soft (soft edges) so that the focus would be on the geese behind the white reflections. The reflections were also glazed very lightly with the sky blue.
|Zooming in on this photo, I could see there was a lot of blue sky colour shading those geese.|
I hope I get some more opportunities for painting swans this spring. Click here for more information about these amazing travellers Trumpeter Swans . I am thankful our valley has the food they need to replenish as they make their journey north.