Tag Archives: birds

Bachelor Party

“Bachelor Party”

Painting #8 in my Big Bird March (but continuing in April) challenge. This is my “Bachelor Party” painting, collaged from a selection of photos of some house sparrows who hang outside my kitchen window. The female sparrows visit also, but they are more camera shy. I think the males may actually consider me a threat when they “pose” and glare at me through the window. This is a 7.5″x11″ watercolor painting on 140lb Arches cold press. Click on each image to see a larger view in a new browser tab.

“Bachelor Party” Drawing

I have skipped blogging about a couple of bird paintings. The paintings are nothing I want to brag about. I have quit counting the number of total birds, since this one alone means 10 separate birds!

Rather than give you a long written explanation of the painting process, I will just include an accelerated video of selected clips in the painting process. If a picture is worth a 1000 words, how many words is a video worth, I wonder?

Anyway, I used just four pigments throughout the painting; in order of their appearance in the video, Pyrrol Transparent Orange, New Gamboge (both by Daniel Smith), Ultramarine Light (Holbein), and Quinacridone Rose (Also by Daniel Smith).

I quite like the somewhat abstract nature of the painting and drawing. These guys will probably end up on a note card some day, or as a packet of bird cards. My usual rule is I don’t make prints of paintings unless I no longer have access to the original painting. So I may wait to see if this little guy sells? Or I may make a coronavirus exception to the rule? I’m not sure yet.

Enjoy the video of the painting process. There are no words, just moving pictures (worth thousands and thousands of words).

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Sun Conures Talkin’ Smack

“Sun Conures”

Painting #4 of my 15×30 Big Bird March challenge. “Sun Conures” is a 5.5″x7.5″ watercolor on 140lb Saunders Waterford cold press paper. Click on the image to see a larger view in a new browser tab.

I have had this photograph for about 10 years and have always wanted to paint it. I took the photo at the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City. The birds were behind a cage, and the photo had lots of cast shadows from the fence. Challenge! I wanted them to appear to be in the wild.

I painted wet-into-wet directly (no pre-drawing) using Hansa Yellow Medium, New Gamboge, Perinone Orange, by Daniel Smith as well as Sap Green by Schminke and Ultramarine light by Holbein.

See the Youtube still-shot video below for visuals of painting stages as described.

I saturated the paper front and back, then used Viva paper towels to dab up most of the loose water. I began with the Hansa Yellow Medium and New Gamboge, painting the breasts and heads of the birds, leaving the eye and beak area on the left bird untouched. I added Perinone Orange to the heads and tails. Then added the Sap Green for the wings and tails. I lifted off the light side of the branch, then painted the dark under-shadows with blue and orange, letting all the colors mix on the paper. I used the same dark tone (with Ultramarine and orange) to paint the eyes and beaks.

After the paper had dried back enough to hold an edge, I used tea- to coffee-strength pigment to hint at background foliage and branches. I tried to just hint at the talons. I had to make up an additional branch for the right bird to hold (in the photo he was holding on to a metal bar with both its talon and beak).

I love the resulting colors and gestures of the birds. I feel like they are talking smack about me?

Only $95 for this original watercolor painting! The painting is 5.5″x7.5″ in a custom white mat with a black core to fit a standard 8″x10″ frame opening. Shipping $7 (if the painting does not need to be shipped, the shipping charge will be refunded).

 

 

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Goldfinch Dinner

Updated! “Goldfinch Dinner”

Onward with a new challenge for March; the 15×30 Big Bird March. “Goldfinch Dinner” is the first of the series. It is a watercolor 5.5″x7.5″ on 140lb Arches cold press. Click on the images to see a larger view in new browser tabs.

When we lived in Utah, these Lesser goldfinches would come in great flocks to feed on our back yard sunflower forest. We were thrilled to see them also in our new backyard in Nevada. Though, they like a variety of flower seedlings here. We have a lovely bouquet in our front yard each summer.

Front Yard Flowers

This little gal was painted wet-into-wet, using Hansa Yellow Light and Medium, Pyrrol Red and Phthalo Blue (GS), all by Daniel Smith.

Before saturating the paper, I masked off the highlights for the “rim-lighting” effect. After drying off the back of the paper, but leaving the front really wet, I painted the background, first. I put down the blue first, following quickly with red and letting them mix on the paper. I added some yellow as well for an overall gray background. While the paper was still very wet, I painted the whole flower shape and seed pod with the Hansa Yellow Light. I added red and blue to the sunflower center. I added blue and red to the seed pod to create the green. Phthalo and Hansa Yellow make a really bright green, so I had to tone it down a bit for the shadow areas.

I painted the gray feathers of the bird with a mix of phthalo blue and red, skewed more to the blue. I painted the breast of the bird with Hansa Yellow light.  I used the same gray mix for the head, beak and legs/feet. Although, I may have gone too dark on the legs/feet? The first layer I kept quite light. After the paper dried off some, I added some darker tones for the feathers and eyes. I mixed a muddy orange for the shadows on the breast and tail.

I worked the flower petals by adding Hansa Yellow Medium and pulling some of the red out of the center. I painted over the center several more times with strong red and blue pigment.

I dried the painting off with a blow dryer and removed the masking. I found those last tiny details with dark pigment, mostly using the red/blue dark mix. I took a lot of care around the beak and the seed pod. I like how I can see the backside of the beak, inside the mouth of the bird. I painted that first with pure Pyrrol red at tea-strength, then let some blue swim in at the edge.

I added some Pyrrol Red calligraphy strokes with my rigger brush, then signed the painting.

‘Tis a fun little painting to start off my Big Bird March challenge, don’t you think? My goal is to get looser as the month progresses.

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“Goldfinch Dinner” Stage 1

Update! I removed the white spike below the beak.

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14th Painting 30×30 Direct Watercolor – Finch on a Fence

“Oh my goodness! How cute is that Finch?”

“Finch on a Fence” – Fixed a bit

This little guy flitted to a white fence just as my husband and I were walking past with our extra zoomer lens on the Canon Rebel SLR camera at the ready.

“Good Catch!” Now the debate. Is it a House Wren or a House Finch? I just cannot tell. I’m going with a House Finch, because I want the title to be, “Finch on a Fence” <smile>

Continuing with my Facebook group’s 30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge, I painted this wet-into-wet without any pre-drawing. It is a small 5.5″x7.5″ little guy. It is actually probably very close to the size of the bird itself.

“How did you DO that wet-into-wet without a drawing?” you ask.

Well, I like to saturate the paper, then dry it back with a towel, so I can hold an edge, but still have soft watery blends of color. See previous blog posts on that process.

For this painting, I used my #14 Lowe-Cornell round brush on Arches 140lb cold press watercolor paper.

I mixed up a green tone using Hansa Yellow Medium and Phthalo Blue (GS) both by Daniel Smith.

Finch on a Fence – 1st Sta

I painted around the shape of the bird and fence, leaving them both white. I caressed in a bit of the blue and yellow to the pre-mixed green, just to avoid letting the green get lonesome. I had also pre-mixed my “black” using Pyrrol Red and Phthalo blue, so I caressed in a bit of that to the green too, to knock back the intensity a bit.

After creating the white silhouette, I painted the shadow shapes on the bird’s body, letting the dark bleed into the wet green background. I left a few random white sparkles, plus a very deliberate white highlight in the eye.

Finch on a Fench – Stage Two

I really enjoy how the dark gray bled into the background green, giving the sense of the wind ruffling his feathers. I then carefully put in the bright Pyrrol Red on the top of the head and on the breast. I added a bit of Perinone Orange to keep the red really bright and intense.

I painted in the legs and talons, taking care to make the forward leg darker compared to the back leg. I carefully measured the length of the talons against the bird’s body, so I didn’t make them too small. Birds have BIG feet, man!

I weakened the gray mix and hinted at the white

Finch on a Fence – Stage 3

fence on top and on the front. I liked the cast shadow from the Bird’s tail, which I painted with a weakened phthalo blue and a bit of muddy gray the same strength. I was quite happy with the painting at this stage. And it would have been a completely bona fide wet-into-wet one- go-at-it painting. But alas! One of the house critics came by and offered that the background was pretty boring.

“Yeah, I know. It is.” So, when the painting had reached the damp, almost dry stage, I added hints of foliage behind the white fence. I signed it with my calligraphy brush, because dang it, if I can’t find my rigger brush!

Voila! My cuter than a dang bug’s ear (though, is a bug’s ear really cute? I mean, how do we know that? Intellectually, my brain thinks a bug’s ear would not be cute?) “Finch on a Fence” watercolor painting for the day.

If interested in purchasing this painting, click the “Add to Cart” button below. For a short time, this painting will be available for $150 (with black frame and white black core mat). Shipping $15.00 to Continental U.S. customers, paying with PayPal or a credit/debit card only. Check payments and faraway folks will pay additional shipping charges. Taxes additional, where applicable.

After July 8th, this little fellow is “goin’ to the show!” at Artsy Fartsy Art Gallery in Carson City. Artist’s reception July 18th from 4-7pm.

Finch on a Fench – Final painting

Finch on a Fench, $150 (with frame & mat)

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