My fascination with Arctic Terns and their annual migration between the Arctic and Antarctica continues in a series of new paintings I’m developing, exploring the bird’s movement and flight. Here’s the first one:

Arctic Terns Landing, 30" x 9" mixed media

To study the flight of the birds and learn their accurate wing position, I watched video clips in slow motion and took screen shots, a time consuming process. Moving to Photoshop, I composed a sequence of five of my favorite positions from the video clips.

Then I started sketching, using other photos and notes for additional reference (my video stills are low resolution). 

After this, I masked off the birds with brown packing tape, and began to paint.

The black is an experiment, inspired by two of my 5×5 paintings from last month, Black Tern and Ice Shelf. I used several coats of black sumi ink, and once dry, completed the birds with a mix of watercolor and white gouache (an opaque water-based paint). I’m excited about the results! I have more paintings in the works… stay tuned and let me know what you think!