Hi All Artist Hearts,
Have you ever tried to build or duplicate a Bald Eagle's Nest? Whew!
I've finally finished another new stage in our "Family Affair" series. A lot of work has gone into this stage including the beginning layers for the background, sky and some of the many facets of the Eagle's Nest and the materials

used to create it.  Painting this kind of nest requires a lot of patience and a steady hand.It is far from being finished, but at least the interpretation of what reads as a nest is shaping up nicely and has taken on character and weight.

The shadows are also progressing, especially on the underside of the Male Eagle's wing.  Remember we spoke of the importance of making your shadow areas vibrant and interesting and therefore avoiding the dreaded 'black holes' we sometimes see in the first works of young artists. 

This was a challenge to be able to keep the grey-brown of this area and still read as deep shadow. It has taken several carefully laid washes, but it is looking much better now than a few days ago when there was only the first few layers applied.  It was in what I call the "ugly stage." 

It is often emotionally difficult to get past the "ugly stage" and press on one step at a time.  It is often at that stage that one fears the painting is ruined and completely lost.  When that happens it is best to set the painting aside and let it "cool down," as the saying goes.

Set it up where you can see it constantly and study it whenever you have a moment. (I set my paintings up in our family room opposite my recliner where I relax with a nice hot cup of tea in the afternoons and in the evenings.) Ask yourself questions: "If my color has dulled what color can I add to brighten it again?" or  "Where can I take my painting from this point forward," or "Should a color be darker or lighter here, or warmer or cooler there? And so on. 

If the detail work starts to become tiring or tedious it is time to stop and paint an easier part of the picture, or do something else entirely.  Come back with fresh eyes and heart. Better to rest than push on and make a costly error in your decision making.   It only takes one bad choice to ruin an entire painting that you have worked so hard to bring to life.

Watch for the next installment.  We will continue to work on the nest and background slowly but steadily.  Stay inspired. Happy painting everyone.
Blessings,
Jan.