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To me, as an artist, producing a good painting is about exploring all the different facets of composition, color and technique and not just reproducing an image in a photorealistic way. Although I consider myself a figurative painter, I always try to find that essential balance and tension between the more abstract background and the realism of the subject. In a way you could say that I am on the frontier between figurative and non-figurative, or the traditional and the modern.
My technique is based on the principle of painting in layers, using cold bluish-greys and warm brownish-greys. This delicate balance ensures that they complement and enhance each other. I start a painting by sketching with big brushstrokes and using the palette knife to look for the right composition, not allowing myself to be distracted by specifics. Once the form of the painting has been established, I begin to work on the birds or a particular detail of the bird(s) themselves.
My familiarity with wildlife has ensured that they have become my primary artistic focus, particularly their shape, color and the balance of negative space around and between individuals. These are the main ingredients, also pattern, rhythm, depth and structure, all of which are vital in order to paint a good painting.
My subjects are mostly birds of the northern hemisphere, Europe, Siberia and North America. I have encountered these species on many occasions on my trips throughout Europe, Poland, Scandinavia, Russia, Canada, Wyoming and Alaska, where I worked as a fishing guide for several summers.
Ewoud De Groot