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New Painting – Watercolor Cardinal

Thanks to everyone who has encouraged the birds, I hope this is appealing. It’s loose and sketchy in feel, but hopefully captures the right details and says Cardinal.
This is number 7 of the trials that I did. It took me that long to get one I was pleased with – it’s on the back of an earlier one that was unfinished because it was too bad to proceed! There are three that are finished and I’ll post the others soon.
The process for painting these is very straightforward. I sketch the bird lightly in pencil and then paint the first loose layer of watercolor. This layer is painted in a combination of wet on wet and wet on dry methods. I moisten the paper in some areas of the background and then paint the bird letting the colors mingle in the body and the colors spread into the background. This first paint application is the most important as well as the easiest to make a mistake.
After letting it dry, I add the spatters for texture and dry again. The last step is to add the small details and harder edges where necessary as well as modifying the body forms to look more realistic. After painting, I sharpen the eye, beak and feet with colored pencil, if necessary.
Materials & particulars- Finished size: 5×7, Winsor & Newton watercolors on Arches 140lb cold press paper, Prismacolor colored pencils
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A Bit of Black

Another bird! This mockingbird drawing was lightly sketched with graphite and finished with colored pencil. Colored pencil is nice for the detail it allows, but fairly time consuming to lay down the pigment.

This little (5×7) drawing has only a limited color range – blues, grays, a little yellow and a bit of black.

I’m finding these birds to be extremly enjoyable so have started more for watercolor sketches. We’ll see how those go.
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A Flash of Blue

This is a quick drawing from yesterday. After getting the initial sketch down and starting to put in the dark eyes, beak and feathers with graphite, I wanted more. He is a Blue Jay after all. So, I added pastel chalks and was much happier.
This is one of a very few bird drawings I’ve done and it was very enjoyable. Maybe there are more in my future!
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Two Color and Pattern Studies

First, I did this:

Then this:

These are both painted with the exact same colors -Permanent Rose, Winsor Lemon and Manganese Blue. I did add a little Cobalt Turquoise to the second one in some of the leaves.

These are preliminary paintings for a portrait. It seems like a good idea to make them as paintings on their own so these are finished 5 x 7 pieces.

Thoughts and comments are welcome. The portrait is underway, but I’ll let there be a little mystery about which way it goes.

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Portrait and Color Study for Swap

 This is a portrait of Nadine (her blog here). We did a portrait swap where we each worked from a photo (which I have misplaced or it would be posted too -sorry!) of the other person. It was both interesting and challenging for me as I don’t normally use this type of photo and had not seen her in person. It’s amazing what you learn about someone’s face!

It’s watercolor, 8 x 10, Arches cold press with a touch of colored pencil here and there to finish. Three colors used, all Winsor & Newton – Ultramarine Violet, Permanent Rose and Winsor Lemon. The scan has obliterated some detail in the eyes.

When I do these portraits, I often do a small (5 x7) color and pattern study concurrently to help me work out the details. That’s here: