Monarchs of the Sky (Wedgetail Eagles) Original Acrylic on Baltic Birch 2metres x 1.1metres – SOLD
Original artwork by ARC Associate Living Master Artist Stephen Jesic.
Stephen’s Inspiration: The beginnings of this painting started back in 1986 on a trip to the Gulf Country. The scene is from the north side of the Moondarra Dam in Mt. Isa. As I was taking photos of the scenery an eagle was soaring high above catching thermal currents; that’s where and when the initial concept took place. At this point in time, I was painting landscapes, seascapes and still life slowly progressing into wildlife by the late 80’s. My first major wildlife painting was “Rosellas Revenge“ which became a finalist in the 1991 James Hardy Wildlife Art Prize. Now painting wildlife in their natural habitat, I started to collect many reference photos.
After purchasing a digital camera in 2006 the initial eagle reference photos were taken. It wasn’t until May 2011 that I started the eagle design. After several revisions of the design, I prepared a panel and commenced the painting. Whilst initially blocking in the painting, doubts started, designs may look good in the smaller design stage but when at full scale problems can arise. The main problem was the single eagle spread diagonally across the painting; the eagle reference photo was not good enough for a major work.
After upgrading my camera equipment in 2012 I proceeded to accumulate high quality images of habitat and wildlife. It wasn’t until August 2021 that I accumulated enough eagle reference to redesign the painting. Months of sorting reference images, design, re-design and now months of painting; over 1000 contact hours of actual painting. Added to this there are weeks of photographing, zoo / sanctuary fees, travel expenses and sometimes accommodation.
The final design has endured, 3 generations of cameras, printers and 4 generations of computers; the latest being a high-end graphic/video workstation capable of working with large layered full size image files; the final design, 1.54 gigabyte @ 300 dpi @ 1.1 x 2 metres. Sifting through over 1000 images of eagles several were selected, each having a variety of poses. These were further scrutinized, finally selecting three eagle images showing different views of their wings in flight. I would like to clarify “working from photographs” as there is a stigma attached to using them in some circles. When I take a photo a sense of emotion is attached to that image. I can recall that emotion later, no matter how much time has passed. Any image now recalled becomes an image of emotion. With 50 years’ experience I can transform that emotion into paint.
After removing the eagle from the original design, I then proceeded to place these new extracted images carefully into the digital design, checking their scale relative to the scene, arranging their positions to form an interaction between each other as they now majestically soared above the outback. Recalling how I felt way back in 1986, careful consideration was given to convey that feeling as a cohesive unit, now honouring that landscape, now with majestic eagles. Even though so much time has passed the painting now becomes a painting from the heart, as all my artwork is, resonating with gallery and clients. The painting as you now see it is well established in all its elements, now the softening of edges, refining shapes, modulating numerous cool and warm interweaving layers of colour, adding sparkle, complexity; each element combining into a complete single form to give the painting a 3 dimensional homogenous appearance. It has been a long journey, not over just yet and as the gallery knows I won’t sign a painting until I’m fully satisfied that it’s finished to the best of my ability, not withstanding all materials and varnishing are to museum archival standards. The Gallery and I welcome you and wish to share the passion of this paintings journey, a visual journey from the heart.
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