The objective of this project was to create a realistic image of a duck or goose, any waterfowl, to submit to the Duck Stamp Competition. This competition determines the image that will be used as the stamp to help wildlife and habitat conservation. To do this, I had to chose the bird, Bufflehead, and then create my own original image with that bird in it's habitat. In my case, Buffleheads live (in the summer and spring) near the north in lakes and ponds. I decided to use acrylic paint for my project because that is the material I am best with and most comfortable using to make something look semi-realistic.
To begin my project, I had to use photoshop to make the reference image. I used a picture of mountains and a lake, and then took two separate photos of a female and male Bufflehead. I inserted the birds onto my background and then printed the image. I used it as a reference image to get the proportions and colors right on my painting, which I did with acrylic paint on canvas. I sketched out the image first and then proceeded to do the background so that I could add layers to the foreground as I went on. The background took the most amount of time because it was the biggest part of my painting. However, the birds were difficult because it was hard to get their colors right, especially with the male and his variety of feathers and pose that I chose for him.
This project was pretty fun though because I don't usually focus on backgrounds that much, so I really enjoyed spending some time to create a background. I think I can also really relate with the background because I had a camp that I went to with a similar view, so painting that background was like a happy memory and experience for me. The birds were also fun to paint because I have never really painted or drawn a bird before, so getting into that process was challenging but worth it in the end when I could genuinely say that they looked like birds. I chose the Bufflehead because I thought it was the most interesting bird, with the head colors and the way they looked. I like how different the male and females are, and I liked that I could include them both in my project.