Long Tailed Tit – Tiny bird Long Tail (Aegithalos caudatus)
Painting the Long Tailed Tit means observing how long the tail is compared to the tiny body of the bird. It is easy to think you’re over doing it, exaggerating its length, but trust me it’s long. They are a gorgeous pink, white and black bird, with tiny delicate features.
For a tiny bird they can make a lot of noise, always chirping and making their presence known on the bird feeder. They are usually in groups, though I have seen the Long Tailed Tit in pairs. They are easily knocked off the bird feeders by the other birds, perhaps this is why they feed in groups, strength in numbers. I have easily counted twenty Long Tailed Tits on the bird feeder, descending and fleeing en masse. So another gorgeous bird for the watercolour sketch series.
Painting a Long Tailed Tit in watercolour
The Long Tailed Tit has delicate features so I’ve used two small brushes to paint the detail. I created four watercolour palette mixes, a yellow (yellow seems to be in every painting), a pink, a brown and finally a black mix. All the colours are mixed from three primary transparent watercolours.
First I painted a pale yellow wash on the under body. The Long Tail Tit has a lot of white, but it appears more creamy coloured on the under body. Then I began using the pink mix on the upper and lower body. I added several layers of wash to build a depth of colour. I also painted a light pink wash above the beak and on the legs and feet of the bird.
Using a mixed watercolour black
I mix all my colours and when using a black mix, I find I have to keep re-mixing it, to keep the colours binding together. First I used a pale black wash, more grey than black for the wings and tail. This was to create highlighted areas. I left lines unpainted on the wings and tail. I also painted the beak with the pale black wash.
Then I used the pale black wash to paint short small brushstrokes of paint across the chest and head of the Long Tailed Tit, this gave texture and movement to the bird’s feathers. I painted more flecks on the under body. Next I used the smaller brush to paint the outline edge of the legs and feet. The Long Tailed Tit’s legs look very spindly.
I waited for each layer to dry before adding another. Then I made a stronger black mix of watercolour and painted the tail with a steady brush. Painting the tail lines in one brushstroke. Next I painted small flecks of paint on the bird’s head, back and wing. All the dark distinctive markings of the Long Tailed Tit.
No white paint, the paper is the white
Finally I painted the eye a pale black wash, leaving an area unpainted. All the white in the painting is the paper, no white paint. I don’t use white paint, the paper is always the white in my paintings. The eye was then painted with a stronger black mix. I used the brown mix to paint the branch, leaving areas unpainted for highlights.
Last of all I painted a short brushstroke of stronger yellow mix, just above the eye of the Long Tailed Tit.