Twilight Karen LaFontaine Artist's Journal On The Easel
Detail from Hummingbird Twilight, study on Arches oil paper.

I cherish my time in my painting studio at day’s end. The daylight is fading and there remains just a bit of twilight to illuminate my paintings and the fresh new work of the day. In these moments, I like to be still and reflect on the day’s activity. Art life and family life intertwined… all in a day’s work. Everyday presents a new challenge and each day is uniquely rewarding.

I sit and enjoy a new oil painting study executed on Arches oil paper. This original new work showcases a hummingbird settled in her nest for the evening. A new feathered friend evokes the calm emotion I always experience during this quiet time of day. My hummingbird and I exchange a shared and knowing glance. She does not stir. She knows night is soon to arrive and with it, the solitude and safety found in the cover of darkness.

For this 12 inch by 16 inch study on paper, I experimented with a new palette. Carefully selected, subtle hues work together to evoke the winding down whisper unique to day’s end: cobalt violet, ultramarine blue, yellow ochre pale, green gold, hansa yellow medium, burnt umber, paynes grey, chromatic black and titanium white. I make note of the palette because this study on paper is preparation for exploring this subject further on canvas. I choose a square format in a larger size, 20 inches by 20 inches as I continue to plan out the design elements: tree branches, leaves, nest and feathered companion. I arrive at a final design.

In the fading light, I reach for canvas and gesso and begin to prep my painting’s surface. The day may be winding down, but my creative ideas are flowing. In my mind’s eye, I see color, shape and shadow and know how they will play out for a hummingbird portrait. I forge ahead and I feel content. I know something more certainly then I did at the day’s beginning. During these reflective moments, I find fuel for life. Art life and family life intertwined… exploring the natural world through my paintings, sharing the wondrous beauty with family and friends, my art reminds me to give thanks and appreciate the world we all share.

Thank you for visiting with me in my Artist’s Journal On The Easel. I am happy to share this detail picture taken from Hummingbird Twilight, a study on Arches oil paper. This study is preparation for a larger canvas I am creating in a series of oil paintings I have titled Summer Garden 2022. Watch for more garden friends, their stories and paintings to come! June 2022 is being a very productive month in my studio.

Hummingbird Twilight oil painting study by Karen LaFontaine

Life is Art! Be well, Karen LaFontaine

If you love bird paintings, contact Karen at her studio at:

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