Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker watercolour makes a change from the flora I’ve been painting. Every morning I can hear the drumming of the Woodpecker. Then it isn’t long before they are attacking the nuts in the bird feeders. They are a delight to watch, but they are easily spooked.
The Great Spotted Woodpecker really stands out amongst the other birds on the bird feeder. It is quite a large bird in and its flashes of white and red make it easily recognisable. They are difficult to sketch from life as the slightest movement I make, sends them flying. It usually flies to the nearest tree trunk and then hops to the top, before flying over the fields. Therefore I’ve had to rely on my photographs to produce this Woodpecker watercolour sketch.
Great Spotted Woodpecker Mixing Colours and layering
I took care with painting the first watercolour washes, so as to preserve the white areas of the Great Spotted Woodpecker. I created my usual 3 palettes of colours, mixing 3 primary colours to create the pale red tones, the feint brown on the throat of the and the black for the feathers. In order to maintain the integrity of my mixed black, I’ve have to keep adding layers of wash. Allowing each layer to dry before adding the next. When mixing watercolours, your colours can begin to separate in the palette. So you need a lot of patience in this technique. Also if you add each layer before the previous layer has dried you’ll lift the paint off. Watercolour painting is technically difficult and not for the feint hearted.
I used two sable watercolour brushes for the painting. The smaller brush created the swish effect to the feathers. The red feathers of the Woodpecker, can range from a very pale red, through to a strong orange red.