Monday, March 5, 2012

Pair Of Mallards

Mallards have always been attractive to me.  Nine times out of ten they are the best looking ducks on the pond and they are so common that you can hardly pass a pond this time of year without seeing a few lazily swimming around.
    Until recently I was a bit hesitant to try to paint these birds.  They are such a colorful and unfamiliar subject that I didn't believe my skills were up to the task.  But with my recent success painting a Golden Pheasant as well as a California Quail I thought that could continue to expand my wildlife resume and try my hand at these classic masters of the pond.
    As always I started with a basic outlined sketch of the pair of them. I never add to much detail to the rough sketch, only the basic lines and a few softer lines to designate the areas of different color.  I then begin to add color to the paper, gradually building up darker hues on top of lighter backgrounds to give the painting more depth.
You can see with the female mallard in the back that the initial color is a very pale washed out color.  The male mallard was first painted like that - with lighter shades of his finished color - and then I added the darker colors on top of the base coat.
    I have been asked where do I get the references from.  For my fish often it is from photos I have taken or even sniping a few picks from fellow bloggers.  I often use these photos as references for color and details that my mind can not recall.  For this painting I found a photo of two mallards I surfed the web for photos of the pair.  Luckily I found a photo with a male and a female in the same photo.  They were not in this pose - in fact they were separated by some distance and looking the other way, but they did provide a good reference for details.  I then sketched out the pair in a classic pose.  This pose not only provided a look I wanted but it fit both ducks into a painting that could easily be framed while still giving the necessarily details of the female mallard.
    For my fly fishing blog followers, I appreciate your understanding as a deviate from the 'fishing' part of this blog to paint a few of our feathered friends.  That being said, the feathers from birds like these provide a great resource for tying materials so in a weird way these birds have continuing connection to fly fishing.  These birds are also great additions to any cabin decor.

A Pair Of Mallards
Watercolor and Gouache
On Watercolor paper
@ 8" x 10"
For Sale


The Reverend Fowl ™ said...

Water, Waterfowl, Watercolors; perfect combination.

Love the curls on the tail.

Have you heard of the Hollywood Mallard? –It’s the Northern Shoveler or Spoon Bill

Anonymous said...

Nice job

Mark Kautz said...

We have a pair that have come to our pond every year for the last 7 years, but I've never seen young ones. I wonder if the Foxes get them? Very sad.


Passinthru Outdoors said...

very nicely done Joel.

Unknown said...

Reverend - thanks for the compliments. I have heard of them but I don't think I have ever seen one. I might have to do a but of research.
Shoreman - who knows, they might be having their young somewhere else. On the otherhand, foxes have to feed their young too
Passnthru - thanks