A lady called Allison (who is a falconer and an avid bird lover) asked me to paint her Conure called Peanut and her Red Tailed Hawk named Phoenix. I decied that I would log each step of the painting process to break it down for those who like to see how birds can be painted in watercolor. Enjoy. For words and a bit of how I did it see right at the end…
I drew the conure, then I wetted the whole inside of the image and let the water soak in a bit. Then I applied loose diluted colour washes to define the main colour areas of Peanut’s body.This is where watercolour does its magic as it bleeds and runs and ends up looking natural and painterly which I like:)
Where I didn’t want colours to go I used the tip of a screwed up paper tissue and dabbed away excess. To add more oomph to certain areas I added deeper and less watery washes of colour. I let the whole thing dry for half an hour(and had a cup of tea) and then went back in with a fresh eye.
Then I added deeper colour, feather definition and his feet, beak and eyes. To get nice shadows I never use black but instead pick the opposite of the color it is. For example to get a nice shadow on the red part of Peanut’s neck I added a touch of green. I hope you have enjoyed looking at these steps.
Books I have learnt a lot from include “Webb on Watercolor” by Frank Webb.