I don't want to control the paint as I work. I want to play with it, move with it and enjoy what happens, all the while keeping in mind that I want to also showcase my subject. Even with the playful start in this painting, I limited my palette. The fewer colors, the more unified and brilliant the painting. I chose Winsor Newton's Cobalt blue, WN Quinacridone gold and Daniel Smith's Carmine Red for my primary colors and added WN Burnt Sienna for brown. All other colors you see are mixes of these four colors.
I painted the bird in layers, not sure just how to handle the black, working it through as I went along. I wanted to see some shading and color, not just a mass of black. My reference photo was printed in black and white on my laser printer which offers very little detail. The practical reason for this--I'm out of one of my color ink cartridges. Artistically, however, this turned out to be of benefit. It gave me the freedom to create the background colors from my imagination and memory.
As I began to add shading to the foreground reeds below, I noticed that I had lost the forward edge of the front wing (see above). Below, I have scrubbed that edge so I can restore it with another application of paint.
Click here to learn more about my visit to WV's New River Birding and Nature Festival.