A woodpecker mid flight.

A woodpecker mid flight.

Hi, another week another Thursday and another new blog. Things are hotting up here in my little studio , busily getting things packaged and ready to be posted . I like to get things done, ready and sent off as promptly as I can, but it is just me, and I can get in a bit of a muddle.

I like to go a walk every day to clear my head, and steady myself for the day ahead.

The colours seem to change overnight, and the autumn hues this year appear to be especially spectacular.

I painted this woodpecker a few weeks ago, and I have tried to explain my processes to you, ,but some things are tricky to explain and are only learnt through practice.

I am always looking and pondering....will that work as a watercolour?

A walk and a good view are often where I start.


Even if it just puts me in the right mood to start a piece


Now this is a tricky one, but the trick is not to get too bogged down in details. Firstly draw your woodpecker 

Then I use masking fluid and a silicon colour shaper and a paper clip to mask of the white areas on the feathers.

Now leave that to dry .

Now I can start on the head. I want the feathers to look real, so I wet the paper first with a damp brush. you don't want things too wet.

Then I drop the colour into it. If you look carefully you can see it bleeds a bit around the edges, I think giving the appearance of feathers.

I am using cerulean blue and indigo ( for the 'black bits) Cad red for the red feathers and some yellow ochre here and there. You have top keep your wits about you, as there is a lot going on in a small space  

So now I must apologise, as I got carried away with my work. But remember, we have masked out the white bits so that is one thing you don't have to worry about.

I finished the eye first. Then the feet, neatly tucked away under the bird.

Next I painted the body hints of yellow ochre and red brown. I also added a shadow underneath, to give the body roundness.

Then the bold red feathers' 

Now finally the wings. I painted them first with cerulean blue, then while they were still damp I added paynes grey, so you can see where the light catches them I also use a damp piece of kitchen roll to wipe some of the paint off to give that sense of movement.

Then I left everything to dry

When it is completely dry I used a rubber to rub off the masking fluid. I added some cerulean blue to some of the white marks to give them shadow. then I had fun adding some white acrylic splatters and some paynes grey splatters. I also hinted at a sky.

Have fun with your mark making, if you can do it with confidence you'll be surprised how many of them land in the right place.




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1 comment

I absolutely love everything that you do, Rachel. I especially love how you explain your painting process…this bird is just one of so many of your paintings that inspire me to just get painting. Thank you so much for sharing!


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