Kingfisher in 6 easy steps

Kingfisher in 6 easy steps

I have had a wonderful week this week as I have had complete freedom to paint just what I wanted. I have a few new pieces to share with you in the coming days but a subject i return to time and again is movement. I love birds and the way they move and a favourite of mine is the king fisher .

1. Find an image of a kingfisher and draw it as carefully as you can. I often use pixabay as a source of images or I have some friendly photographer friends who help me too. 


2. Now it is time to get painting. I like to make sure I have everything I need . Fresh water, kitchen roll, my paintbrushes in easy reach. I also tape the paper to the board with masking tape. I use bockingford watercolour paper and Winsor and Newton paints. I have no secret formula but I always start with the eye, I like to get to know my subject and once he has an eye he has a personality.



3. Now I like to splash some masking fluid around. Much as you splatter paint but it is gloopier and less willing to cooperate. Also watch your clothes it is tricky to get off.



4.So let the masking fluid dry completely and you can paint all the details on the head and the beak. The kingfisher has such amazing colouring so don't be shy. I use indian yellow, phthalo blue, veridian , cadmium orange , cerean blue and splashes of clean water to get the textures.

Be careful to know where you want the colours study the bird carefully.



5.Now carry on down the body but you can be much freer with the wing. I use a mixture of cadmium red and cobalt blue to paint the wing and I use lots of water and brush strokes in the direction of movement I want. You also need to be aware of where the bird emerges from the water, keep these lines very blurred with lots of water.


6. Now to go a bit mad, be like the water. I use indigo and phthalo blue mixed together and create the water effect with strong paint and lots of water. Finally let it dry completely and I splatter some white acrylic on for good measure. Now wait for it to dry again and rub off your pencil lines ....


....and hey presto your kingfisher is complete!




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Its beautiful. I love it.


really beautiful detailing and the colours are split on, that extra splatter of blue for the waterbeds a nice touch


Ooo this is lovely! Thank you.
I went out walking this morning to see if I could get some heron pics to paint later. I saw a kingfisher first but of course was too slow to capture – your advice here is great.
I did get my heron pics too, so that is today’s project.
Having found your site I also saw your foxes – another love of mine.
I only started painting last year so have a lot to learn. I look forward to seeing more of your work :)


Lovely painting. Thank you for the step by step help.
We have a kingfisher who visits our river and I have tried one or two
small paintings, sadly not as good as yours, I do like the wet in wet technique
I shall try tonight. Regards Janice

Janice Hunt

Love your work. Thank you for posting this tutorial.


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