Sorry for the delay..I had a sudden realization that my deadline for one of the art shows was just 7 days away and I hadn't even started my painting!  Ouch!!  And this one was to be a large painting too.
Well,  lo and behold, I got it done!!  Yea!

     To recap,  this show is the FLORIDA FOREVER Flora and Fauna Show at the St. Augustine Art Association.  There is a limit of two paintings.  My husband and I had noticed that the larger paintings usually won the prizes so he suggested I go big.  Thanks, dear,  I love you too!  Haha.  Well,
I had a large 24 x 30 canvas sitting around and also a frame that size.  Great!  Now for the subject.  I had noticed over the last couple years that flora or flowers will win over animals or fauna.  I wanted to do a close-up of a flower, but no time.  So, I decided to go snap some pics of the San Sebastian River here close to my home.  It has all the elements i was looking for.  Water, trees, cordgrass in water and last but not least, nesting birds!  Cool!  All I had to do was drive out to the SR 16 bridge, park and snap away.  Lots of white Ibis nesting.  Beautiful!

     I looked up some reference materials also on colors of the grass for interest and some water reflections to give sparkle to the water.  I was originally going for the south view with the college spires in the background, but as it turned out, the north view was much more interesting.

     I took out a 12 x 12 canvas and laid out the picture in paint.  Liked it, and went for it.   But it wasn't actually THAT easy as it turns out.  I originally had large cumulus clouds in the background and of course my value system in place, lighter and bluer in back, getting bolder and darker as you move forward, etc.  I was cooking (painting) right along thinking, this is great, I might finish today!
Hold your horses, buster!  It looked good but not good enough.  Then I took a break for a little while came back.. something just didn't look right.  I tried, but couldn't figure out what it was.  Below I have the reference photo, btw. After that is the first shot of the painting.

At this point it looks good.  I liked everything about it.  So I kept going..

     Oops,  I deleted the painting with mistakes.  Sorry.  Just suffice it to say that the area in the left front at the bottom had very tall grass 2/3 of the way across the painting.  As others pointed out, it blocked entrance into the painting.  SO I removed the grass altogether, which was a good thing because I had the water dark from reflections of the island and trees
     When all else fails, I post the painting to an artist's website.  I asked for help.  I got lots of replies. First, I had tall grasses in the very front. They blocked entrance into the painting, DUH! I had two islands of trees, both too long and straight.  Also, everyone said the clouds were too in your face.  So I changed them too!  It was all good advice.  The painting looked much better afterward.  I added more water within the grass too.  Below is the "after all changes" picture.

     Tuesday morning I will take the painting to my art class.  We are having an open "Critic" class. We can bring in any painting we are working on for the others to critic and make suggestions.  I am hoping for the teacher's input and suggestions.  She has her own gallery and is a VERY GOOD ARTIST!   She is also very nice and very helpful!  All the qualities we want in a teacher, right?
Anyway,  the timing is perfect.  the painting has to be submitted to the art association by Wednesday afternoon, giving me just enough time to do any corrections needed.  BTW,  these birds really do nest the way you see in the painting.  FYI.   Thanks for looking!

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