Heron Feathers

So today I’m working on a painting of a heron and as I start working on the wing feathers, I realise that I don’t know where to put the paint I have on my brush! In fact, my whole interpretation of the feathers on the heron’s wing has changed and I no longer think what I am doing works.

This has happened to me before and I’m starting to think it’s pretty common for me and I wonder if this happens to other artists? My theory is that I don’t just go back to the photograph (most of my painting is done from photographs) I envision a three-dimensional construct, in my head, of what I am seeing and I use that construct to determine where the paint goes. With the Heron I lose the exact feather and with a flower I lose which petal I’m working on. The advantage is that it forces me to re-evaluate style and colours along with layout, so I’m constantly rebuilding the reality in my head. I like to think this results in a better painting.

This has been happening to me for as long as I can remember. So, to put a positive spin on it; it may have something to do with what I call the reality illusion. Every time I lose my place I have to re-evaluate and that allows me to notice the reality illusion. Of course, I might just be confused and need to find where I was working. Hope it works.