My first painting of 2012 is a study of a handsome mallard pair. I wanted the reflections on the water to be accurate without painting too much detail. My goal was to give the impression of the ducks pushing water in front of them as they paddled forward. I like the negative space at the bottom of this painting, broken only by the reflection of the hen's head. I knew it would be a challenge to depict the birds in bright midday sun. Subjects painted in this type of light typically end up looking flat, but the iridescence of the drake's head and the wonderful pose of the hen helped to mitigate this concern.