Well that was fun. I started this painting today and I finished it 3 hours later. That's not like me. I fuss and fiddle and sometimes take 3 or 4 days to finish a painting. I tend to paint 'tight' and I really would like to loosen up. I adore the work of John Lovett and Karl Martens. They are loose, uninhibited watercolourists and I live in hope that one day I will use this medium as well as they do.
This little guy is my attempt at painting 'loose.' I had to resist my urges to fuss and fiddle.
I started by wetting the body and head of the bird with water and while the paper was damp I dropped in some Imperial Purple. Oh...no wait! The very first thing I did was mask out the white spots on the wings and tail. You can see that as the little green spots in the image above. So, after I wet the paper..........I let the dampness of the paper disperse the pigment. I also dropped in some Brown Ochre and some Vandyke Brown here and there. Then I sprinkled some salt over it and sat back and crossed my fingers. There is a little bit of yellow paint on the back leg- I dropped that in while the paper was damp too.
When the first step was dry I wet the top of the head and the wing with water and I dropped in Vandyke Brown while the paper was damp. I picked up some Sepia and I added some darker areas where I wanted them. I let the dampness move the pigment around. I sprinkled a little salt on this area too.
I wet the tail and I gave it the same treatment with the same colors. I painted the eye in with Lamp Black. Again I dampened the paper first but I used a much finer brush. When the tail was dry I wet the fluffy area at the base of the tail with water and dropped in the same colours- starting with Purple first. I painted the bottom beak with a very faint wash of Naples Yellow.
I wet the front edge of the wren with water and I used some more Purple to darken that area. Then I re-wet the area around the rump and I dropped in some more VanDyke Brown and some more Sepia. I stepped back and had a look at it and I decided that it was way too purple.
I knew I had to tone down the purple with some brown so I carefully re-wet the body as I didn't want to upset the pretty salt wash underneath. While it was damp I dropped in some Vandyke Brown here and there. I rewet the legs and I used Burgundy to add some darker areas. I wet the lower beak and used Brown Ochre and Sepia to add some definition to it. When it was dry I wet the top beak and I used Lamp Black there. I used an eraser to rub off the masking fluid and I softened the white highlights that remained by carefully wetting the paper around them and dropping in some Sepia.
I must thank Steve Lyddon from Paint My Photo for the reference photo. Paint My Photo is a great place to find photos that you can paint from without fear of infringing copyright.
I scanned my painting and cleaned it up in Photoshop. While I was waiting for Dom to come home from work I used it to make some product 'mockups' below. :)