Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Watery White-throated Sparrow

This is the same White-throated Sparrow that showed up in painting 127, but here he's flown to a sparser tree (instead of the tangle of branches), and he is perched high above me...looking down. It was an interesting sight because he was still puffed up for maximum heat insulation and could barely see over his fluffy chest and belly feathers. Snow had not accumulated on these unprotected branches, and the clouds were getting darker. Although I painted the branches tight, I decided to make the bird and sky watery and loose.


Painting 128. White-throated Sparrow in Winter
(Watercolor, 12x16 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper)


I painted the background with a single wash alternating between Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna (Daniel Smith watercolors). Working quickly, I used a watery brush with a heavy pigment load, going back and doting in pure color here and there to get the rolling cloud movement. If I had not masked out the bird and branches, it would have been much harder to achieve this result because I would have had to slow down and cut around the bird and branches. (I had already started to paint the branches before I thought about a scan to show the masked-out bird! :-)


Pencil sketch of the White-throated Sparrow
I didn't need much detail for this sketch because I knew I was going to make the bird watery and impressionistic.

Last year at this time I was only working on painting 17, so I'm 11 paintings ahead--yeah! If I have any free time, I'm up in the art room painting, and of course, if I'm waiting in the car or at on of Matty's practices, I'm sketching or painting. All the extra sketching time is really helping. I'm so glad I'm not afraid to paint and sketch in public any more.

18 comments:

Carol Mattingly said...

Kelly I'm thinking of taking up sketching and/or drawing and want to start with simple landscapes. Would you begin with sketch pencils or use color pencils. Any advice at all in any way would be appreciated, carollmattingly@aol.com. And by the way I love the finished product on this post. Carol

Kelly said...

I would start with a soft-leaded pencil (at least a 2B). Sketching with a pencil really helps you see an image. Then...move on to colored pencils...or watercolors or acrylics....there's no end to what you can do. I can't wait until you start. You'll love it! I'll send you an email too...

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Kelly, Great painting of the fluffy white-throated sparrow.... He is really puffed up!!!!!

I love the way you show us what you are doing step-by-step....

Thanks....
Hugs,
Betsy

Laure Ferlita said...

Excellent job on the perspective! We really get the sense that he is looking down at us!

Nicole MacP said...

Love it! Such a typical pose, but instantly recognizable! Lots of character in that little guy!

Elaine said...

Very nice! I like seeing the effect you were going for and how you accomplished it.

Janice K said...

Love the way he is peering down at you. Great painting.

Angela said...

It is so nice to follow how other artist create their paintings. Thanks for sharing.

Out on the prairie said...

Lovely sketch and finished product.

freebird said...

This is nice. Really nice. And I am glad you showed how you did the background.

Montanagirl said...

This is very nice. Your sure know how to get the effect you're seeking!

Kerri said...

Super! You really are inspiring!!

Tammie Lee said...

I love seeing the different stages, the sketch and the painting. I love hearing what you used for tools too.

Your painting is lovely.

freebird said...

Hi Kelly. I don't know if you like to get awards for your blog or not but I have given you which you can see here: http://freebirddrawing.blogspot.com/2011/03/stylish-blogger-award.html

It's totally up to you whether you participate. I was mostly sharing your blog so others who might see my post can come see your blog. I don't always play along with the awards but it's been a long time so this time I did.

Hilke Breder said...

Love the painting, Kelly. It's cold and yet you know spring is coming. I know what you mean saying you are no longer afraid to work in public. It took me a while to forget other people's opinion when walking around in funny clothes, hat drawn down to shade my eyes, and showing up in strange places with my camera and big lens. As long as nobody calls the police!

BirdingGirl said...

Wow- these are amazing. You are truly talented. White-throated sparrows are a great subject. They have one of my favorite calls.

Kelly said...

Betsy...thank you!

Laure...I worked on that....it was fun...thank you!!

Nicole...thank you...that day when he was flitting around in the cold, all puffed up, I knew he would have to be turned into a painting...

thanks, Elaine! Sometimes it's more luck than anything!!

Janice...thank you! :-)

Angela...thank you...I like to show the progress when it's a more involved painting...

Steve....thank you!!!

Timaree...thank you! ...and thank you for the award!! I just dropped by your blog...what a surprise!! :-)

Mona...thanks...(luck?) :-)

Kerri...thank you!!

...thanks, Tammie!!

Hilke...thanks! Hahaha...yeah...I have the hat thing too....big floppy hat, binocs, camera.....oh boy!

Birding Girl...thank you! The White-throated Sparrows were really fun to paint. That splash of yellow really makes it different...

Chris Petrak said...

Fascinating description of your technique - and wonderful results. My wife does watercolors and she'll be interested in your technique. Thanks for sharing.