Three little birds....'Ronald', 'Brian' and 'Walter'

Three little birds....'Ronald', 'Brian' and 'Walter'

It has been a while since I wrote a blog , I have been busy finishing some commissions and taking parcels to the post office.I have been encouraged by the lovely comments made you have given me on my  recent bird paintings that I thought that you might like to see one taking shape. 

I love to paint birds , blue tits, robins and wrens are among some of my favourites , so it seems nice to be able to pop them together on one piece of paper. I like to position them so they look natural and have a relationship to one another. However I don't want to make them look too cutesy , I like them to look real. Perhaps that is why I like them on barbed wire, it feels real and is a contrast to their softness. I also love ,for some reason, to paint barbed wire. So this picture is a joy to paint.

1. I sketch out the birds, using reference photos and seeing how they look together.


2. Now I paint the eyes of each bird , this brings them to life and shows their little personalities. It helps to make them real. Study the eyes carefully, where does the light fall? What colors are they ? I use my small best brushes for this part.


I have also carefully painted the beaks, they are all different, some more blue, the wren has touches of orangey yellow. Look, look, look and look again, the more you understand what you are painting the way to paint it becomes more simple.

3. Now I can paint the characteristics of each little bird, the wren first, with its yellows and browns,



4. Then the blue tit , the yellows have a few different tones in there. I use indigo for the dark blues and cerulean blue the cobalt blue for the top of the head, It is always difficult controlling the amount of water so you get the soft edges that look like feathers.



5, Now Mr Robin, you can always refer to my last blog to see how I paint robins, infact I have a blog for a wren and a blue tit too....lots of information if you are interested.



6 Then i move onto the barbed wire, and look for all the different colours in it. There is blue and burnt sienna and purple,orange and reddy brown. Decide where the shadows go and look very carefully 

 I Finish it all off with some splashes and splatters to add movement and vitality to the paper. This is all a matter of preference, I like it some people might not


So three more little birds , a real pleasure to paint, it has taken me all day but it is a real treat for a Friday .





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Thank you Rachel. So I guess your birds are about life size here based on the size of the paper. I just don’t know how you get the eyes to look so real in something that small – I have tried so many times!


Hi the paper is 21cm x 30cm so around A4

Rachel Toll

Lovely. What size is your painting? I think I try to paint my birds near ‘actual’ size which is probably why I find them so difficult.


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