Sunday, 12 February 2017

How to Paint Birds' Feet

I painted the branch at the same time as the bird's feet so that I could get the contrast of the feet right.  The light is very strong on the bird's left, so in order to get that highlight light enough without making it white and therefore lose it's colour, I painted the branch as dark as I could to get that highlight to pop out.

I painted in the darks first with Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Red and then the midtone shadows.  The highlights are very light pinks, and very light blues - put a lot of colour into your greys and blacks so that they don't appear too dull.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Follow the Directional Growth of Feathers

You can now see in this photo how important it is to get the direction of the feathers right.  It gives the bird depth and solidity, especially in that orange chest.  Remember to do just the one colour section at a time, so the colours don't become muddy. 

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Feathers, Feathers, Feathers

I think the most important tip for painting feathers is to follow the direction of their growth and shape them accordingly.  They overlap, so are darker at the top where they overlap, and lighter at the bottom.  This bird's feathers are sleeker at the top as he stretches forward slightly, so make them a little smoother here (by lessening the contrast between dark and light).

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

How to Paint Feathers

I'm going to paint one colour at a time, starting with the head and working my way down.  With a mid-tone blue, I roughly painted in the feathers, concentrating on the direction first.  I then did a very light blue for the top of the head.  To make a dark blue, I added a tiny bit of red and brushed through the feathers, softening them as I went.  Extra highlights were added with a fine brush and some medium to the ends of the feathers where they overlap.  Mess it up with a few stray feathers, and split feathers so it doesn't become too uniform.  Redarken some patches here and there for extra depth, especially around the eyes.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Drawing a Pelican

I drew this pelican initially to practise my drawing skills.  I haven't done a drawing for a while, but I found it was a great way to unwind and relax without thinking too much about it.  And I still do love drawing. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Painting Eyes, Nose and Beaks

I always like to paint in the eyes of an animal or face first.  It's probably just a psychological thing, but for me it immediately gives the object life and character, which makes it easier to paint in the rest of the body.

When painting eyes, leave the darks until last so that you don't muddy up the colours.  I put in that lovely blue reflection first and worked my way outwards.

In this picture, the light is shining through the beak making the tip a little translucent.  Don't add just white to make the beak lighter here as too much white tends to wash out the colour.  I used Lemon to make the colour lighter instead.

Monday, 9 January 2017

How to Paint a Soft Background in Oils





I always choose my colours before I start to paint.  I tried to match the parrot's colours as best I could.  Unfortunately, there are no colours that compare with the Rainbow Lorikeet's beautiful plumage.  However, I chose Ultramarine Blue and Permanent Blue for the blues, Cadmium Red Light and Cadmium Orange for the oranges, Cadmium Yellow Deep and Permanent Rose for the beak and lastly some Chrome Green Hue and Lemon for greens.

So these are the colours I picked out for the bird and will be the colours for a complementary background.

I dabbed in all the darks first in all the combinations of blue/green colours.  I shaped some of these dabs into leaves and varied the shapes.  Then I added some mid-tones of yellows, and lighter blue/greens.  Lastly, to "feather" it all off, I chose the lightest colours using white and lemon.

With a dry, soft, wide brush, I lightly used a criss-cross action to go over the entire background, softening and pushing it back for that out-of-focus look.

I can always add more darks or highlights later after the bird is completed if needed.