Demo 1
Demo 2
Demo 3

Demo 1 – Blue Jays Two

A heart-felt thank you to the birder and bird photographer
John Millman from Burlington, Ontario.

He so kindly gave me permission to paint from this photograph.
I downloaded it from his remarkable website www.johnmillman.ca
I was deeply saddened to learn of Mr. Millman's passing in the
spring of 2009.

Blue Jays Demo
Click images to see a larger view.

Step 1 – Test Sheet & Research
(note that this section only is the same as the demo info
from Blue Jay back. I used the same test sheet. )

I do colour research from various bird books using mainly
these two: “An Audubon Handbook – Eastern Birds” by John
Farrand Jr and “A Field Guide to the Birds” by Roger Tory Peterson.

I also looked at the striking Blue Jays from “Glen Loates Birds of North America”. He is my favourite bird painter since he uses watercolours and ‘white of the paper’ backgrounds.
I write the information onto a piece of watercolour paper that follows.

I then decide on the colours to use in the painting. For this painting I used mainly Winsor & Newton’s Cerulean, Winsor Blue and Indigo.

Blue Jays Demo ______________________________________________________

Step 2 (2.5 Hours) – Draw the Bird

I then do the pencil drawing onto a sheet of 300 pound hot-press Fabriano Artistico watercolour paper. I had to make the white of
the paper dark in this jpg. Actually the paper is white and the pencil marks are faint. I include a fair amount of detail.

Small-birds ______________________________________________________

STEP 3 (1.5 Hours) – PAINTING

I started with the head and feet areas. They make the drawing come alive.

Blue Jays3 ___________________________________________________

STEP 4 (1 Hour) – PAINTING

More filling in the left bird shading and the right bird back wings.

Blue Jays 4 ______________________________________________________

STEP 5 (1 Hour) – PAINTING

The right bird has more detail now.

Blue Jays 5 ______________________________________________________

STEP 6 (1 Hour) – PAINTING

Filled in both birds. With more detail.

Blue Jays 6 ______________________________________________________

STEP 7 (1 Hour) – PAINTING

I printed a close up of the right Blue Jay’s head to see more detail.

Blue Jay - More Detail

Blue Jay 7 ______________________________________________________

STEP 8 (1 Hour) – PAINTING

I am nearly finished the two birds.

Blue Jays 8 ______________________________________________________

STEP 9 (1 Hour) – DRAWING

I draw the branch and mix the colours. For this painting I used my usual Winsor & Newton tube paints. The grey – a watery wash of Burnt Umber and French Ultramarine and the reddish under bark Burnt Sienna added to this grey.


Blue Jays 9




I printed a close up of the right bird’s right foot so I could see more detail.


Blue Jays 10

Blue Jays 10(2)




I finished the branch and did touch ups.


Blue Jays 11


Total time was 12 hours. (click to see Next Demo)