I decided to embark on a monumental project, one that will take most of the summer or longer, and I will share my progress with you on this Blog as it evolves. My giant venture is to create a 48″ x 60″ pointillism painting of Sandhill Cranes. During the spring bird migration I spent a great deal of time watching, sketching and photographing these lanky creatures and what interested me most about their habits is the crazy dancing, wing flapping hop-scotch activity that takes place while they are on the ground. I took more than 800 photos and initially planned to paint the cranes as they majestically flew through the air against a back drop of snow capped mountains. Instead, on further examination, I decided to paint the wacky “Wing Dancing” ritual and focus entirely on the birds, eliminating all background detail.
After sorting through hundreds of photos and sketches I picked several to download and print out where I carefully studied the images focusing my search on finding interesting shapes and motion. Next, to save time, I traced my favorite birds with pencil on tracing paper and began arranging the drawings to form a pleasing composition.
Gail Niebrugge, Alaska wildlife paintings