Great Tit watercolour – reassuring presence in the garden
The Great Tit is the one bird I can count on seeing in the garden. They are never far from a bird feeder and when all other birds have dispersed, the Great Tit will still be flitting around the lawn or in the hedges. They are not easily spooked by my presence and generally stay near as I refill the bird feeders.
Painting fine detail with watercolour
I mixed three palettes for the Great Tit watercolour, a yellow mix, a blue mix and a black mix. I started painting with the blue mix first. Applying pale blue watercolour washes on the beak, the back, the tail and the wing. I also applied this mix to the legs and feet of the Great Tit.
Next I painted the first layers of yellow watercolour to the chest of the Great Tit. These first washes were applied with the larger of the two brushes you can see in the image above.
For the fine detail I used the smaller brush, applying short brushstrokes of the yellow mix to the chest. The short brushstrokes help to give texture and feather movement to the Great Tit. I also used the yellow mix on the back of the bird.
Then I used the blue mix on the back of the bird to give the effect of a green tinge to the feathers on the back of the bird. I created thin lines of blue along the wings and tail of the Great Tit. Next I used a paler mix of the black, creating a grey colour, to paint short brushstrokes on the the chest and back of the bird. Also I painted the rim the bird was clinging to.
Using a mixed black watercolour
I had created my own black mix from transparent watercolour pigments. I had to keep mixing and working the mix so it would bind together. Then I used the small brush to create tiny black brushstrokes across the head of the Great Tit. I wanted the underlying paper to show through the brushstrokes, this adds depth to the black paint.
I used the black mix for the eye, leaving an area of white paper. Then the wings, legs and feet were outlined with the small watercolour brush. I added feather texture and movement to the white cheek of the Great Tit, by painting short brushstrokes with the black mix.
No white paint, the paper is the white
All the white areas of the bird are the paper, areas I have left unpainted. I don’t use white paint, I think I achieve a softer look to the painting by using the paper as the white.