Spring seems to have resprung and my garden is bursting into life, with flowers and birds.

My studio is looking lovely in the sunshine this morning

We are getting the working part of the garden ready for the vegetables later in the season

and meanwhile enjoying the new Spring flowers that pop up everyday x

The birds are out in force , finding nest sights and singing to each other.I love birds, especially painting them. I have a bird feeder right outside my studio and I spend many hours watching them come and go. Goldfinches however , well they are special because of their colours. If they were rare of only found in exotic places we would be amazed by them , but I think we are so lucky to have them brightening up our days here in the UK. they  are elegant birds, really beautiful and so different to anything else in Devon.

So as usual I sketch out my bird, my paper is bockingford and I always tape it to my board before I start.

I have recently discovered Blackwing pencils too, very expensive but so lovely to draw with, 'half the pressure, twice the speed' is their logo I use 602 ones.

Then I move onto the eye. This is tiny but I love painting them. I always leave a pin prick of white where the light catches it.

Then the beak, very subtle, cad red with a touch of yellow. Very weak cerulean blue, and a darker purple to hint at where the beak opens.

Now I like to let my watercolours do their thing. I spray around the bird being careful of the bits I have already painted and add some important colours. Some reds and yellows, and let them fade and paly around in the background.

Then I let that dry.

Now onto the head. Indian yellow underneath 


Then before it dries I drop in my scarlet and darker reds around the eyes.

I also add some black ( well paynes grey ) on the top of his head.

Now onto the body, I wet the whole body and drop in colour and shadow while it is wet to hit at the texture of the bird , the feathers.

Now more detail on the feathers, Indian yellow first then the paynes grey.


Finally the tail feathers too.

Next I paint the feet and then the branches using yellow ochre and dropping in burnt umber and sepia for the dark areas on the wood. 

Finally I stand back and see where I need to add a shadow or a detail , and my piece is done.


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Your work is absolutely gorgeous! And thank you for sharing these how tos!

I did some watercolour art for the first time in the Christmas holidays and have been wanting to do some more over Easter – your blood has really encouraged me to give it a go!

I am interested – when you say you spray the colours, is that by flicking the brush? Or is there another way you do it?

Also, it sounds like you wet the paper before adding the paint, is that right? (Very new to watercolours and hadnt thought of trying that)

I have a feeling I may end up spending a lot of time on your blog. Thank you!


Beautiful painting of a goldfinch. So wonderful to see them in our gardens. Thank you for the blog.

Margot Cornish

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