So a new day and a new painting, sitting here in this showery, October weather looking out at the different birds coming and going from my bird feeder, I can't help but be inspired by them. I love to paint birds and they have been good for me too, this year I was asked by the RSPB to provide images for their illustrated bird calendar
So on a wet and windy day in Devon I decided to indulge myself and paint 2 of my favourite birds, a wren and a robin
I began by sketching them onto an A4 piece of Bockingford watercolour paper
I began with the wren, masking out very carefully the little white markings on his wings with masking fluid, and then carefully painting his eye. I use very small 00 brushes for this.I leave a small unpainted area on the paper to add light to his little eye too. Look very carefully and build it up in layers. It takes practice, but it does bring the little wren to life.
Next I painted the beak, and moved onto the body. I like to work wet in wet, dropping the colours in , starting with the lightest first. Trust yourself and paint what you see...I am using yellow ochre as a base, and dropping in cerulean blue and my purply colour made from cobalt blue and cadmium red.
Then I move onto the brown feathers, using burnt umber, raw sienna, and some yellow ochre for the lightest parts. Let your brush follow the shape of the bird and the feathers, I like edges to get lost, and to add shadow with some darker patches, don't get too bogged down in the detail, let the watercolour work it's magic.
Now the finishing touches on the wren , add the darkest dark areas, the legs and some splatters
I want my birds to be surrounded by something ...so I added a branch using yellow ochre, with burnt umber dropped into the wet paint on the shaded side.
Then some freestyle ivy, this is fun after the detail of the wren. I start with a lemon yellow , then drop different greens into it and see what happens
Then I start on the robin, the same process as with the wren really, starting with the eye
But when it comes to a robin's feathers you need to be brave, I do the under colours all in one go , so you have the shading on the white of the robin and the blues too.
It looks a bit funny but stick with it.
Now to add the deeper colours and the details on the wings
And so I have my 2 little birds, nestled in the ivy, add more greens and branches if you want, I wanted this time to create some context
So now all that remains is to rub of my pencil marks and the masking fluid with an eraser
Happy painting x