Thanks to everyone who has encouraged the birds, I hope this is appealing. It's loose and sketchy in feel, but hopefully captures the right details and says Cardinal.
This is number 7 of the trials that I did. It took me that long to get one I was pleased with - it's on the back of an earlier one that was unfinished because it was too bad to proceed! There are three that are finished and I'll post the others soon.
The process for painting these is very straightforward. I sketch the bird lightly in pencil and then paint the first loose layer of watercolor. This layer is painted in a combination of wet on wet and wet on dry methods. I moisten the paper in some areas of the background and then paint the bird letting the colors mingle in the body and the colors spread into the background. This first paint application is the most important as well as the easiest to make a mistake.
After letting it dry, I add the spatters for texture and dry again. The last step is to add the small details and harder edges where necessary as well as modifying the body forms to look more realistic. After painting, I sharpen the eye, beak and feet with colored pencil, if necessary.
Materials & particulars- Finished size: 5x7, Winsor & Newton watercolors on Arches 140lb cold press paper, Prismacolor colored pencils