Pastel on Clairefontaine Pastelmat, 19x13 inches
This was an appealing subject for Soft Pastel on Pastelmat. People were feeding the ducks in Stamford last summer and they were all whirling around trying to grab bits of bread. Looking directly into the sunlight, this created beautiful patterns on the water surface, with little jewels of pure light flashing intermittently.
Unless you're a genius, with the speed the Mallards dart about, it's impossible to capture this without the aid of a photograph, so I waited about until I got just the pose I wanted. The drake's head has just the most superb, rich purples and greens, silhouetted against the light, with a shadow over it's breast. The painting was all about the whole - not just the portrait of the Mallard, but the water itself with all it's marbled patterns. It's easy to get bogged down concentrating on the individual marks and stabs of colour depicting the water, and lose the bigger picture, and I very nearly did. Just about got away with it I think. Don't forget that you can click on this and any other image to view it fullscreen.