The making of Autumn's Blaze
Updated: Mar 31
On one of our early morning walks as the fall colours were nearing their peak, we walked by our neighbours fence line to find the sumac in full colour. I think the bright blues of a bluejay sitting on the post will contrast nicely in this picture and offer an interesting composition. These are the photos and sketch I'll be using for reference.
After applying 3 coats of gesso I'm now ready to sketch in the main elements of the painting, primarily the fence and bluejay. The amount of sumac in this painting is a little overwhelming and I'm beginning to wonder what I got myself into. Next steps will involve blocking in some of the background greens and the fence.
More progress on this painting. Completed the background base green, but it will still need a lot more detail as I go along and fill in some of the grasses. The fence is coming along. I always enjoy doing trees/wood/branches. There's lot of character in wood and it's always fun trying to bring out the grain,knots crooks and crannies. More detail as well will be required on the fence, but for now this will do.
More sumac coming into the painting. This is definitely taking longer then I anticipated. As much as I enjoy the variety of colour it's starting to wear me down :)
Finally completed the background. At least blocking in the sumac leaves. Now I'll start working on highlights and shadows and try to get a bit more contrast working between the fence, sumac and trees in the background. I'm not sure why I approached this painting this way (working on the background first before doing the bird). Whether it was to change things up or to give me incentive to work through all the sumac, knowing I would be finishing up with the Bluejay, I'm not sure but I think it's starting to come together.
My work is done!. The sumac was certainly a challenging element in this painting, adding many more hours then I had anticipated but I feel it really added a lot of colour contrast for the Bluejay and made for an interesting composition. I've taken all the progress photo's and compiled them into a video. I've titled this piece "Autumn's Blaze", 15"x30" acrylic on canvas. I hope you enjoy!