Corn birds

I am a firm believer in planning a painting. For me, if a painting doesn’t work out it’s more than likely the result of one of two things: I didn’t spend enough time planning or I didn’t spend enough time drawing. When I went out to Macdonald Farm this morning I spent a few minutes driving around, trying to decide what to paint. I love the view across the corn to John Abbott College, and I’ve sketched it before in winter, but they don’t always plant corn in this field so I was happy to see the remnants of it today. The first thing I did before I put pencil to paper (watercolour paper, that is) was to draw my thumbnail sketch. That helped me make one important decision. What is the division of space on the page? One third sky and two thirds foreground, or the opposite? You can see below what I chose. The thumbnail is a scribble, really, but it gives me a direction and allows me a few minutes to think about what I’m going to paint. And if I decide that the thumbnail isn’t really interesting, then I’ve only lost a few minutes and a tidbit of paper, and I can move on and try something else.

CornBirds

CornBirds_Sketch


15 Comments on “Corn birds”

  1. Tony Underhill says:

    I’m sold on the benefit of a trial thumbnail or two – but I’m in awe of the special vision and skill it takes to produce such a good painting from one like this.

    • Wow, thanks Tony. I was so happy to be painting today. It’s been months since I’ve actually had the time to get out there and paint a quarter sheet of paper. It was blissful. Thousands of geese in the fields… and me. Now that my new class is done I hope to have more time to paint…

  2. Alison says:

    We are surrounded by dry corn fields right now, some cut down, others not. I keep wondering how to capture them in a painting I LOVE what you have done here with the “wide angle” view and the rendering of the corn. Wonderful painting. And good tip about planning. It is so true!

    • Alison, I was thinking of you while I was painting this and wondering what it looked like around your house at this time of year. It must be so beautiful with all those soft colours of the corn. Get out your flattest, scrubbiest brush to paint the corn.

  3. TR Duncan says:

    Still loving the coal teal with the current colour combination.

  4. Julana says:

    Your farm scenes are some of my favorites. I wonder what you used for the finest lines. They don’t look dark enough to be ink.
    By the way, I got some Platinum ink at the Ohio Pen show yesterday, and ordered the Platinum Carbon pen you used in the Craftsy class. Excited to see, once more, if the tools make the difference. 🙂 ha

  5. Linda Murray says:

    Love this painting, Shari. It looks like the cornfield I have the pleasure of viewing from my Iowa home. Each year I tell myself I will try and paint this scene, but I don’t have the confidence to do it. Looking at your wonderful painting, and seeing how you managed to paint the corn stubble, maybe I will give it a try!

  6. joantav says:

    I love how you found beauty in the remains of the cornstalks…something most people would pass by, but they give such texture and interest to this. Nicely done!!! Your thumbnail really paid off.

  7. Jeff Gold says:

    Shari – Wow! Another keeper. I love the generalized horizon line with the buildings and greenery just hinted at and with beautifully broken color. As always, your overhead wires add great interest and character to the scene and I love the luminous sky. Wow again.


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