Painting a peacock ( or just some of the reasons I love watercolour!)

Painting a peacock ( or just some of the reasons I love watercolour!)

So you may have gathered I love watercolour ! It is my passion and my joy, I paint most days and I love to see what it can do, always trying to experiment and push the boundaries a little further.

I am lucky enough to have some friends who take lovely photos and this one of a peacock caught my eye taken by my friend's son Owen. He kindly let me use it. I want to turn it into a painting and show the essence of a peacock using watercolour, rather than slavishly copying the photo. So unusually for me I began with the back ground.

After firstly sketching it out.


So the first thing I did was cut out some scrap paper to cover the shape of the peacock's head, so I can protect the white paper while I do a lovely loose background.



Now to have some fun.....I wet the paper, and sprayed it with a spray bottle, I get things ready including some rubbing alcohol (which is available from most chemists) I also need a pipette . 



It is good to have everything ready as you need to work quickly



So now to loosely paint the feathers in the background. Then I  drop a drip of the rubbing alcohol on each of the peacocks feather spots, and let the magic happen.

Be free, let the watercolour be free, try not to control things too much then walk away and see what happens.

Now let it dry and take the paper off.



Now you have the peacock to work on. I like to add the details, so you have a nice contrast between the looseness and the detail.

i start as usual with the eye, Look for the light and dark. I began with yellow ochre, the raw sienna, and the darker browns mixed with blues. 



After the eye I begin on the beak


I am painting with control now, looking carefully , I have also added detail around the eye.


Now to fill in the body of the peacock. Look again for the lighter parts and the darker parts around the eyes. I use lots of different blues, cerulean, cobalt indigo. Be careful to preserve the whites. I also added some water spots for texture.



Then finally the head feathers. I used the side of a credit card to create the thin lines , then paint in the to feathers. I have tried to be more creative with this one, be imaginative and see where it takes you. 

Always try to push yourself, just a bit, and if it goes wrong then use the bits you like and try again. the more you let watercolour do the more it can reward you, and I love to see where it can take me.

Good luck it's a roller-coaster ride!



Back to blog






I have been admiring your work for a long time, my friend Kaaren posts pieces. I think you are an amazing artist, and I’d love to have one of your pieces.

Elys Noel

I’ve never heard of rubbing alcohol. I will ask in Boots. Love the effect. X


Beautiful! Love your technique


Leave a comment