Art: Red-tailed Hawk

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Thread: Red-tailed Hawk

  1. #1
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    Red-tailed Hawk

    I have finally finished this monster. To give you perspective, the canvas size is 4 feet by 5 feet! The work has been 18 months in the making. I started it in the summer of 2007. The medium used is acrylic. I managed to get the sky done and clearcoated that summer. I used a regular hardware store paint roller to apply the paint and the clearcoat. I had to transport the canvas several times while working on it, and it taxed my Yukon XL to the max. In frustration, I covered it with a bedsheet and leaned it against the basement wall. There it sat for a year. This summer I began work on the hawk. I did the original drawing of the hawk on a sheet of wrapping paper, and transfered it to the canvas by means of a chalk transfer sheet. I masked the blue sky to avoid getting hawk coloured spots on it. Painting the hawk was fairly straightforward. I then clearcoated the entire canvas again with gloss medium using my trust roller. I laid the canvas out on the floor for the roller job. In the process, my dog ran across the surface! I don't even want to talk about that, but with some careful restoration work I was able to remove the damage.

    The wing span of the hawk in the painting is 30 inches, making it about 60% of life size.

    Virtually every aspect of this painting was a new challenge for me, and although I found the painting frustrating and nervewracking to work on, I am quite pleased with the final product.

    Sometimes I envy you digital artists guys with your monitors and your tablets.

    ps - compare the head of the hawk to my avatar

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  3. #2
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    You obviously put a great deal of work into this. The sky is really well done with a sense of glare and the direction of the Sun above the top of the painting. I wonder if the hawk's underside should be so brightly lit, however, unless it's flying over reflective sand dunes or something.

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  5. #3
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    Thank you for your perceptive onbservation on the apparently well lit underside of the hawk. It is very difficult to light a painting of this size for photography, and the bright underside in the photo is largely a result of spot lighting. The original is darker.

    Time permitting, I will try to take a better photo. I will have to go outside and take a photo in the shade of my house. Given the disasters that seem to befall this painting everytime I move it, I may decide to just live with the photo I've got.

    Once again, thank you for your response.

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    You need a bigger scanner... Well, I suppose it would be hard to scan a painting of that size without damaging it, but with a large format scanner you may be able to do it in several pieces and then stitch them together in Photoshop. If you don't do it just right, however, the lines between the different scanned sections might be visible. With a scanner you can generally get more consistent lighting over a piece than with photography, but I'm not aware of scanners bigger than 11"x17" unless they're something museums have. My old scanner is 11"x17" and I used to do my acrylic paintings in just that size so they would fit. I hardly ever use the scanner anymore since it only connects to one computer I have, which is almost ten years old. Eventually I'll get a new scanner and get rid of that old computer, but I haven't needed to yet.

    So are you going to hang this in your living room or what?

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  7. #5
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    We have an open stairwell in our house with a wall big enough to hang it on.

    The truth will set you free,
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    It is a very cool painting with a lot of detail, but as a bit of a raptor enthusiast I can't help but wonder why the hawk is so yellow. Red-tails tend to be white or light brownish on the underside. Unless you're working off a juvenile feather pattern?

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  9. #7
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    Some very observant comments have been made here, both regarding how well lit the underside of the hawk is, and the colour of the underside. I agree with the comments, but believe the observations more reflect the quality of photography than the painting. I have rephotographed the painting, this time outside, in the shade of my house. I have adjusted the camera settings accordingly. Unfortunately, the sky at the right edge of the photo is somewhat darker than the rest of the sky. This is the result of a projecting wall of the house casting a slight shadow, but both the sky colour and the hawk colour are better.

    I should have taken the time to do it right the first time!

    Compare this to the photo in the original post.

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  10. #8
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    Much better colors and lighting this time. Great work!

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  11. #9
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    Nice; minimal. Id put that on my wall.

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