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Demo 3 – White-breasted Nuthatch


A heart-felt thank you to birder and bird photographer Helena Garcia.
She so kindly gave me permission to paint from this expressive photograph. I downloaded it from her inspiring website www.boismocassinwoods.ca.

Blue Jays Demo
Click images to see a larger view.
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Step 1 – Test Sheet & Research

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. “Glen Loates Birds
of North America has a Red-breasted Nuthatch that is standing on a pine branch.  As usual his paintings are exquisite.

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 Grey/blue – Winsor blue, Indigo and
my mixture of black to darkenBlack – Phthalo Green and Alizarin Crimson.

Small-birds _____________________________________________________

Step 2 (1 Hour) – Draw the Bird

I then do the pencil drawing onto a sheet of 300 pound hot-press Fabriano watercolour paper. The actual pencil lines are faint but
I darkened them in Photoshop so you can see them better. I include
a fair amount of detail.  I left the tree bare as I had to find a real
piece of old fence post to draw later.

Small-birds ______________________________________________________

STEP 3 (1 Hour) – PAINTING

The background is a light blue colour, not the turquoise that shows
in this image.

Blue Jays3 ___________________________________________________

STEP 4 (1 Hour) – PAINTING

More filling in.

Blue Jays 4 ______________________________________________________

STEP 5 (1 Hour) – DRAWING THE CEDAR POST &
MIXING COLOURS

Here is the pencil drawing of the cedar post. Again lots of detail
to make the painting easier.

Blue Jays 5

For this painting I used my usual Winsor & Newton tube paints.
Light colour -raw sienna, mixed with a little winsor violet, and burnt sienna
Reddish tones – burnt sienna, Middle gray/brown (a mixture of burnt umber with winsor violet and winsor blue) and the black/brown (burnt umber and French ultramarine). I started painting the cedar post.

Blue Jays 5

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STEP 6 (1 Hour) – PAINTING

More cedar post.

Blue Jays 6

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STEP 7 (1 Hour) – PAINTING

I worked on more shading on the cedar post and the sunflower seed
and the reddish under-part of the bird.

Blue Jay - More Detail

I filled in the feet.  I couldn’t see the lower foot in the original
downloaded photo so I blew that part up in Photoshop. It still isn’t that clear but it is better.

Blue Jay 7

Blue Jay 7 ______________________________________________________

FINAL PAINTING-approximately 7 hours total.

Blue Jay 7

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Notes