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More Birds! Watercolor Paintings Cardinals and Oriole


“Red”
5×7
Original Watercolor
For Sale: Etsy

I just finished another set of birds with a pair of cardinals and an oriole. They are all posted on Etsy if you want to see “Red” and his mate “Little Red” as well as “Notorious” a northern oriole.

I had the idea to make a mini demo of one of them to share how I paint them. You know, scanning it at various stages of WIP and explaining what I was doing. Of course, the one that I chose to document, a male ruby throated hummingbird, is the one that just did not turn out well! Funny how things go that way. I’ll try again next time.

If you’ve got a favorite bird you’d like to see or any thoughts on these, let me know. I’d love to hear from you!

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Another Watercolor Painting – Serene Cardinal

Another cardinal – number 8 in the trials mentioned in the previous post. He is more serene than the first one. Painted the same way but with an entirely different result!

It’s amazing what can happen if you just try a little. After so many wonderful people, both online and off, encouraged me to continue with the birds, I was bold enough to paint a few to list on Etsy and have had the good fortune to sell a chickadee. You can see the remaining listings over there on the left.
Of course, I’m just as excited as a kindergartner at a carnival! I’m planning more small paintings and have a notion for birds of prey in larger formats. Any thoughts or ideas?
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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!