Movement is a theme I return to time and time again. I think the fluidity of watercolour is the perfect medium for movement ( although I am sure many other painters in oils or acrylics may disagree ). Don't be afraid to experiment, it takes a while to know what to paint in and what to leave out, I am still learning every time I put brush to paper. I find that confident brush strokes help , remember you have nothing to lose , it is just paper and paint ( and you can always have another go).
Firstly I paint the detail, I find I have more concentration at the beginning of a painting , more time for the fiddly bits . I like a painting to have a contrast between realism and impressionism , I like the eye to look right so we can see the soul of the animal
Now I can work outwards from the eye. The head is may focal point reaching up into the sky, but I have turned the paper round so I can let gravity work for me . I want the paint to flow to the tip of the beak. I need to be careful as there is a lot of blue and orange and when they mix you get a muddy green. You need to control the watercolour , and the amount of water on the brush. It takes years and years of practice, and I still make lots of mistakes. the magic happens when it goes well.
Now I can start with those amazing blues, I use phthalo blue and indigo and cerulean blue and some veridian , I want the colour to shine. I use sprinkles of clean water too, to create texture . I also use a tiny sprinkling of salt. Experiment see what you like. Just be careful where the blue meets the orange that meets the white, or your kingfisher may disappear into the river completely!
Now I move on to the lovely orangy body. I am getting bolder and more relaxed.I use clear water to sprinkle with my brush to create texture , It is also important to leave bits to dry, you don't want it all to become waterlogged, and as a painter you don't want to lose the best bits. Watercolour is a mixture of patience and speed.
Now for the make or break bit of the king fisher ...the wings. I need to be bold and paint them quickly. I wet the paper first so my marks become part of the bird, the wings need to move, so I need to move. i us a mixture of cadmium red and cobalt blue for the ends of the wings and I want to follow the lines of the feathers in flight , I need to use the right amount of water or the lines will be lost. There is no magic formula it is a bit like cooking ,you need to practice so that you know how much to use.
Now I can relax a bit with the water. I want the bird to seem part of the river, in one fluid movement so I add a lot of water and spray the bottom of the bird so it dissolves into the water. I add indigo to create waves , and I splatter and sprinkle paint about wiping off bits I don't like . When I am happy ( or as happy as a painter ever is) I leave it to dry naturally. Finally when it is dry I rub off any pencil marks ( just something I like to do but it isn't obligatory) and add some white acrylic ( again my preference) .
My painting is done.