Saturday, January 22, 2011


Last Friday I declared a resolution to practice painting birds. Well, I've broken it a little in that I won't paint on the weekends. Who was I kidding? My weekends are filled with grocery shopping, baking, laundry, and doing things with Cam and my own friends. Art happens on the weekdays.

But I DID paint all 5 weekdays last week. So here are the results:

MONDAY: Narcissus Flycatcher.

I was drawn to the fabulous colors of the Narcissus Flycatcher but I don't think I was super successful in reproducing them. It looks a little globby to me. As you can see, I've painted three of them. This is something I am trying out to learn the brushstrokes. Do the head: boom, boom, boom. Paint the back: boom, boom, boom.

I did it on a few of the other ones too, but as I was getting better with the birds I finished some of the them off with branches and foliage so I didn't show the repeats.

TUESDAY: Parson Finch

I like the way this little guy turned out. But I must admit, the eyes are a little difficult. There's not a lot of space to work with and if you bring the "eyebrow" in too close, you get one angry-looking bird. That will be an on-going challenge. I did find that it helps if I pencil in the eye area and stick close to those lines when I paint.

WEDNESDAY: Johnstone's Bush Robin

I'm pleased with both of these, but I think the top one is stronger. I guess it looks like it has a couple more worms in its belly and is a little more robust.

THURSDAY: Blue and White Flycatchers (Male and Female)

Oooo - two birds. It's the simple things that excite me - like getting to paint both birds in the composition. When the birds don't have a ton of color, it's really important to be able to control the contrast and "segments" of the birds - which I didn't do well here. But I do like the negative space between them and I enjoyed whipping that branch in there too.

FRIDAY: Mountain Bush Warbler

This bird looks happy. Maybe a little too happy. I'm satisfied with the colors in the body but if I'm going to be completely honest - and why wouldn't I be - I think the face looks a little cartoony. It's saying, "Hi Snow White - can I help you hang the laundry." But I think I can go back in there and fix it. I just need a little more shadow and definition.

At least it's not angry.

SO ... week #1 has been successful. I feel I'm getting my own groove and developing my own techniques in painting these birds. When I'm done with the birds in the book, I'll have to see if I can apply what I've learned to photos of real birds - and work on an original composition. But one step at a time.


Heather said...

I love the 2 birds together :) They almost brainwash my face they're so in love.

Julie_c said...

You're so funny!

Angela said...

I love "happy bird". Angry fish was funny! I would be interested in seeing angry bird.
"brainwash my face"-Ha! I still can't get over that!

Frank Zweegers said...

Beautiful work!

Julie_c said...

Thanks Frank!