Sanhill Crane Quartet

Sanhill Crane Quartet
OIl on 18x24 inch canvas

Thursday, May 24, 2018

American Bald Eagle

My most recent project, The American Bald Eagle is similar to another I did last year but the profile is slightly different.  I guess I really like the eagle in profile. That beak is magnificent. Prints and more are available through Fine Art America if you're interested.  The original is 12 x 9 inches executed with soft pastels on sanded pastel paper.  

I started this painting differently than I usually do.  I had intended all along to paint the clouds in first and then the eagle over them. What I changed was the way I treated the clouds.  I laid out the sky first and then blended it with isopropel alcohol.  

Once dry I painted on the clouds with the soft pastels and used the alcohol to blend them onto the background.

I added gray to the clouds and then repeated the process of blending with a brush and alcohol. 

Once ready I drew in the eagle and began work on the beak. This time I used no alcohol, only the chalk pastels and pencils. I like the way he's peaking through the clouds and, for a second, considered pursuing that approach. But I didn't. As you'll see in the following images, I used the pencils to build his head and face and then his shoulders.

At this point I'm ready to truly build up and better define the feathers and touch up the beak. 

I added French gray and Naples yellow to the area around the face as well as better defining the feathers with Titantium white.

I worked on the beak for finer detail. I though it was done. I signed it. I was wrong.

Still not done......

Voila. This bird of prey is focused.