Trying to capture a moment

Trying to capture a moment

May seems to have passed us by this year, as I sit in my studio listening to the wind howling and the rain battering my windows, it feels more like November. But hey ho, the flowers seem to carry on regardless, and maybe so should I.

And between showers , we see glimpses of the sun and promise of what is to come

I passed an older Devon farmer on one of my walks , my head buried into my coat. He said 'Don't worry maid, if we have a May like this , the June , July and August will be glorious'  I shall take him at his word, and continue to dodge the showers,


So I thought I would revisit a theme I return to time and time again , movement. As an artist trying to capture a fleeting moment is something I think we all aspire to. So here is a Kingfisher emerging from the river. wings outstretched, lets see if we can paint him.

First I sketch out the bird.


Then I use a small spray bottle like this, to spray the paper.



Can you see the paper around the bird is wet.


Then I simply drop colour onto the wet paper , where I want the colours to go, as though they are being left by the flight of the bird. Just yellows, oranges and blue.


Then I leave it to dry.


Now I can begin on the details, the eye and the beak.


You need a steady hand for this, I look very carefully and paint what I see. There is orange in the beak as well as cerulean blue and a spot of white in the eye.


Now I keep going , more blue for the feathers and Indian yellow and orange where needed.

Go steady and stop if you need to , you could leave it here and come back to it at another time if you wanted.

Now we are getting bolder An under painting of yellow ochre, then brighter yellows and oranges on top for his body.



Next onto the wings, let these merge into the background a bit, to give the illusion of flight, wet the edges and let some edges disappear, a few flicks and splatters of the brush also help. 

Finally I added a hint of water with some indigo and this glorious bird is done. 


I do hope the weather is better where you are, and that some of your freedoms are returning , like the kingfisher we can emerge our wings outstretched!

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Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and experience! I’m with Sue: I guess it’s hard work to make the painting look like it was easy to paint, and so light-weighted, as if the painting itself took off any minute now to fly with the kingfisher.


Gorgeous painting (as usual!) and so full of life, movement and freedom that you are such a master of. I love your style and choice of colours and can feel the breeze as well as feel/hear/smell the splash of water as he takes off. Thank you very much for sharing how you set about achieving this and making it seem easy (it’s not!) I shall give it a go but sadly am unlikely to get such a spectacular result! I Love your work and ideas very much. Thank you.


Absolutely beautiful, love the way you explain how to paint him I can hear in your voice and through the way you speak how he takes flight and the freedom with which you’ve painted, I like that alot.
I’m definately going to try this one 😊

Diane Hayward

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