The Egret - Part 1
The class demonstration painting begins with a lesson on placement of a single figure on the canvas. Notice that most of the bird is to the right side of the center line. He is facing left, with enough space so it appears that he can easily walk forward. This is an important compositional feature - whether it is a person, a bird, a car or a train - any object that can move, have more space 'in front of it' than behind it so it will feel comfortable to the viewer. Its a psychological thing, but real.
Also notice how the bird is place on the canvas up and down. There is a little space, but not too much. A single object should fill up most of the space on the canvas.
The other feature to notice is the darker value background at the top and lighter water area at the bottom of the canvas. This will allow the best contrast between the light bird against the dark and the dark legs against the light water. This will make a more interesting painting then if I did the opposite. Contrast is an important part of composition - use it to your advantage. Use your artistic license to make sure your center of interest, in this example the bird, will stand out better against the darker background. Even if that is not what you see.
This step was to lay out the composition and block in the background. I used several dark colors to keep the background interesting. It got smeared in the car on the way home, but no big deal, this is just the first layer of the painting, the scapes will be painted over.
To be continued....