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Artist Paints Wild Turkeys in Fast Motion Video

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Watch the process that this artist goes through, from underpainting to finished product, as he paints a double couple of wild turkey toms and hens.

Artist Ryan Kirby sets up his canvas and prepares to paint a scene of wild turkeys that he said he had the idea for last season. “It’s an early morning scene,” he says. “The strutters are going to be backlit.” He gestures to his preliminary drawing on the canvas. “Their tail fins are going to be lit up, on this hillside. Very warm. Very high contrast. Should be a lot of fun.”

“I’m going to get my underpainting, and get the canvas toned. And then we’re going to apply a lot of straight color to this thing.”

Now we get to see the actual process where he applies his underpainting and tones the canvas, in a fast motion, condensed version.

In video number two, Kirby starts to add some vibrant colors, bringing the turkeys to life. I’m always interested in how certain artists do their thing. Their working process. Kirby uses an Old Masters technique of applying a wash or underpainting to his canvas, wherein he works out the shading and contrasts. Then he adds the color, a technique that imbues his work with a glowing, translucent quality.

“One of the great things about being a wildlife artist is that it allows me to relive special hunts and memories from the woods, in my work. And that’s exactly what this piece did,” he says. “It allowed me to revisit a special hunt from last spring, and look forward to this season.”

It’s a gorgeous painting, full of life and dynamic color. There’s a great sense of movement in it as well, with the two toms in full strut and the hens moving around the diagonally positioned moss-covered logs. Kirby’s ability to capture the early morning light is wonderful, as the woods seem to be coming alive behind the birds.

“I hope you’ve enjoyed this piece. I hope you have a great spring,’ he signs off, “and I wish you the best of luck chasing long-beards this season.”

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.

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NEXT: What Turkey Hunting Means to Environmental Conservation

Artist Paints Wild Turkeys in Fast Motion Video