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  • Sheryl Brake

From Floating Nest to Painting

Last summer, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, I was missing the camaraderie of my art classes at the Schissler Academy of Art in Loveland. I started looking for an online community to join that would help me not only with my watercolor skills but also with the business aspect of building an art business. I came across, Tracy Lizotte Studios and her academy. After taking a free course from her, I decided to join the academy.

One of the courses offered through the academy was how to paint a bird's nest. Painting a bird's nest is more involved than one might think and requires several layers of masking fluid to achieve the desired affect. Each layer is allowed to dry, before applying another layer of masking fluid. The masking fluid must dry before applying another layer of paint. Below are several in progress shots of my first attempt at painting a nest.

At the right is the finished painting. Although the process is time intensive, I enjoyed the painting this nest so much that I decided to do another, this time using my own design. I had a vision in my mind of what my painting would be like and I was quite excited to begin painting "Nested Blues."

I envisioned a beautiful nest against a complimentary blue background. I got to work on the painting following the same process as in the painting above, with the exception of the background. I actually love the background in this painting, but when the painting was nearly complete, I sadly realized that the nest looked like it was floating in air. Not exactly the look I was going for. UGH! So much time and effort.

Even putting a mat around the almost completed painting didn't help much. I decided to ask my fellow artists in the Tracy Lizotte Academy and uploaded the photo at the left to the website, hoping to get some ideas from the group. At our weekly meeting we discussed what could be done to save the painting. The overwhelming recommendation was to add a branch to the painting.

After experimenting with a few sketches adding a branch to the

composition at various angles, I decided on a branch that extended from the upper left of the painting to the lower right. Below is the finished painting.

I am really pretty happy with the end result and besides the lovely blue eggs, the tree branch is actually my favorite part. I really think the addition of the branch grounded the nest and made for a lovely composition.

Just goes to show you what a little peer support and good composition can do to save a painting. It is one of the reasons, I try to stay involved with other artists. Otherwise, my floating nest may have ended up in the trash bin with an untimely demise. How sad. :(

Lesson learned: somethings are worth saving!

This painting is available for sale. If interested in purchasing, please contact me for information.


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