Goldfinch detailed watercolour
With their flashes of yellow, Goldfinch are popular in our garden. I have seen at least 25 Goldfinch on one of the smaller Ash trees. They flew around the garden together. I say at least 25, because I lost count after that. They were a wonderful spectacle to behold. Where is the camera when you need it? I’ve witnessed the strange behaviour of wildlife, but I’ve always just missed the shot (no I wasn’t talking).
I’ve found the Goldfinch to be quite a friendly bird, who is happy to eat the bird seed while I sketch away, though not too close. It is great to just do a few light washes of watercolour to get the overall colours of the bird, but I also needed a camera to catch more detail. The best thing about studying and sketching a bird, you get to see their mannerisms and you start to recognise the individual birds.
Goldfinch watercolour progress
First I created a larger than normal size pencil drawing of the Goldfinch. This would enable me to paint all the fine feather detail. Then with small brushstrokes I painted the red face of the bird. I added a few strokes of yellow paint as well. This gave the red colour a slight orange hue.
As you can see in the above close up, I am painting small, short brushstrokes. Lots of watercolour layers are being applied to the bird. The eye detail has been painted with a blue and black mix. The beak has a slight pink hue, turning to a slate grey tone. The white of the bird’s eye and beak are the areas of the paper not painted.
Distinctive Goldfinch flash of yellow
Now the Goldfinch has its distinctive yellow wing, to go with the striking red face. Lots of small brushstrokes have been applied. Each brushstrokes represents a strand of feather. I have painted a black undertone below the yellow wing. I’ve had to paint tiny black brushstrokes, to give the impression of white/ brown feathers lying across the black undertone. Don’t forget there is no white paint.
The tail has a range of purple/ blue layers of colour, that will lie underneath a light black wash. Then I keep adding layers of watercolour over all of the bird to give depth of colour.
Goldfinch watercolour nearing completion
In the above photo you can see the Goldfinch has more colour and definition now. I’ve never stopped to count the amount of brushstrokes or layers of paint that I apply. I painted the bird’s feet with a very fine watercolour brush. See the palettes I created below, all colours mixed from three colours.
Goldfinch watercolour finished
Finally finished the Goldfinch. The white feathers on the neck, chest and underneath have definition now. I didn’t use making fluid, in fact I don’t own any. This gorgeous watercolour painting has very fine detail.