Monday, May 24, 2010

Woody the Woodpecker

My latest project for the Nature Exploration Area at BNC:

This is a pileated woodpecker, painted life-sized (16.5-18", according to various field guides) on a piece of wood salvaged from the tree crew's efforts. You can still see the marks where the chainsaw bit into the soft wood--the surface is therefore much more difficult to paint on than a canvas or panel, but I sand all the pieces first and put on a coat of polycrylic (similar to polyurethane, except water-soluble and non-yellowing), which prevents the paint from being absorbed into the wood so rapidly. I love having the bark as a "frame" of sorts!

Here's a close-up of the face:

I was using a mismatched collection of paints; the red was glossy but all the other colors were matte, which explains why the crest and malar stripe are so shiny--sorry about that!


Catbird said...

I think it's swell, mismatched paints or not!

Bill said...

Absolutely beautiful. Using a piece of wood for your canvas is so appropriate for a painting of a pileated woodpecker1 Very impressed.

CNemes said...

Thank you both! Bill, I really enjoy the character that raw wood affords, and the best part is that it's free! Our Parks Department's fantastic tree crew is always more than happy to slice up pieces of the leaning/dying trees they trim or fell. Recycling at its best :)