Saturday, December 17, 2016

White-throated Sparrow on Ice

The cold winter months provide opportunity for gathering inspiration, as well as, quiet indoor time to create watercolor paintings! 
The above painting was inspired by a harsh but beautiful ice storm in east Tennessee in February 2015.  Ice coated everything so I not only spent a lot of time making sure the birds in my yard had food and water, I took many photographs.    
The limbs of an ice-coated Burning Bush were breath-taking, looking like lace.  I watched birds move in and out of its branches, some plucking berries, others perching near the feeders. Above and below, fluffy White-throated Sparrows perched among the limbs.  Birds fluff their feathers to trap air giving them an extra layer of warmth trapped under their feathers.
Painting ice in watercolor means "saving the whites".  The white of the paper is the white in your watercolor painting.  Ice presents an interesting challenge, more so than snow, because it reflects light and color from the surrounding area.  .  
Above you can see how I began this painting.  After carefully drawing the limbs and sparrow, I began negative painting with light washes of a mixture of burnt sienna and ultarmarine blue. Together these hues range from blue to blue-gray, to brown, to brown-gray to rust and subtle shades in between.  .
In this case I applied the washes in layers, with each area drying before I applied another layer over it.
While painting you can also drop paint into damp pigment to vary the color.  The key to keeping the paint underneath from moving is to avoid dabbing your brush but rather, add pigment with a stroke or two and leave the area until it dries.  
Watercolor painting takes patience because we often spend a lot of time waiting for the right moment to add the next brush stroke.  Paint will have a shiny appearance when wet and look dull when dry. Waiting for that right moment will reward you with satisfying results.  
Look for inspiration in the neutrals of winter and have a great time painting while its cold and wet outside!

Links and references:
Negative painting:  Fun with Fall Leaves and Hummingbird Inspiration
Helping wintering bluebirds

8 comments:

  1. Lovely, especially the background!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your painting looks better than the photo. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. You successfully made "ice" on those branches! Very nice!

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  4. You captured the sparrow's fluffed feathers and the icy weather so beautifully in this painting. Thank you for sharing your process. It was fun and educational to see how it progressed.

    Merry Christmas, Vickie!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love this, Vickie!...started off with that wonderful sketch!
    Kay

    ReplyDelete

Welcome! I am glad to hear your comments, questions and feedback! Vickie

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