I recently finished a series of three paintings that have been on my mind for a long time. These color studies from January were the beginning of an idea to depict Arctic Tern flocks “following the light” as they traverse the world from the Arctic to Antarctica, a few steps ahead of winter. I’m happy to finally complete a realized set of three paintings, exploring this theme of migration and light. They are more abstract than I’ve worked in the past and were fun to create!
Painting every single Arctic Tern was challenging and so immersive that I found myself dreaming about the birds. To create the compositions, I first painted the backgrounds and then sketched flock shapes on paper and in Photoshop. Then I printed and cut out my bird shapes so I could move them around on the backgrounds. Finally I traced each bird with watercolor pencil and painted them with white gouache and watercolor. It was a time consuming process!