Vortex Birds (An Update)

Here’s a little update on some of the vortex birds that I was working on. I wanted to share the direction that these pieces have taken in the past few months after posting about them recently.

The image of the vortex bird is clearly maintained in this first piece, but the addition of gestural marks (made with paint pens and Gelato’s) give the composition some energy that matches the vibrant color scheme. I used minimal patterning here in a green (echoing the green in the flower) to balance out the heaviness of the yellow imagery. Although not a lot was added to this composition, I like the feeling of it a great deal more than what it was originally. The same can’t be said for all of the vortex birds, but in this case, I feel that the additions helped to bring this 8×8 inch work to a close.

In this owl piece I used a variety of media to create depth, texture, and pattern in the background and better integrate the space between the owl and the flowers. Like almost all of the bird imagery I’ve used, the owl image was taken from an old issue of “Birds and Blooms” magazine while the flowers were pulled from the Baker Creek 2020 seed catalog. I used stencils with Gelato’s (a creamy paint-stick) to create some of the larger patterns and prismacolor colored pencils to add smaller patterned marks. The base layer was created with Daniel Smith watercolor on Canson watercolor paper (cold press, 140 lb). The total composition is only around 6×8 inches.

The image of this secretary bird was printed from the internet (unknown source) and then cut down and added back into with prismacolor pencils until the form was what I desired. I used the same watercolors, Gelato’s, and paper to build the background surface as with the previous two works but I also included some scribbly marks with a Micron pen. The flowers and butterfly are from a sticker book of copy-right-free imagery. The finished piece is roughly 5×9 inches.

There is much still to do as I have around 30 vortex bird studies waiting in my studio in neat little bags. I like to pick one up every now and again when I’m feeling desire to play with media. I find that the aspect of already having the imagery done releases me to just play around without as much personal expectation.

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