Wheatear, ground-dwelling bird watercolour painting
What made me paint a watercolour of a Wheatear bird, well when I’m not painting watercolours in the studio, I’m usually out and about sketching and walking. Shropshire is a lovely county and I never tire of wandering around the Shropshire Hills again and again. There is always something new to see. On one of my more walking than sketching days, I came across a curious little character, with a beautiful peachy breast, now, now, I’m talking about a bird, oh dear! I mean the flying kind. Have I dug myself out yet?
Well anyway, this lovely little bird was very striking close up and wasn’t at all bothered by my presence. They seemed to hop across the ground and looked as if they were creating a nest amongst the rocks. Needless to say I thought the bird deserved to be painted in watercolour, so I drew a quick outline, noting the markings and colours of the bird. Once home I delved through our bird books (yes, google would have been quicker, but I am rather partial to books) and discovered the bird is a Wheatear.
Wheatears apparently are generally ground dwelling birds that like to hop and run along the ground. It is quite a distinguishable bird with it’s peachy chest and black cheek, once you know what you are looking for, of course. I’d be curious to know if anyone else has spotted a Wheatear and if so, where.
Wheatear painting process
So I started this Wheatear watercolour by painting the lighter colours first, then I’m starting to build darker brushstrokes of paint to build texture and movement to the feathers. I’ve also added watercolour to the white feathers to show the subtle tones of pinks and yellows you see when the sunlight captures the white under feathers.
The Wheatear watercolour is nearly complete. It’s interesting to note that the white feathers of the bird seem whiter than the paper. Yet I haven’t used any white paint. I’ve relied on the paper to be my white. I have used three primary watercolours to mix my colours. You can see in the palette photo below. This shows all the paint colours mixed for the Wheatear watercolour.
The lovely Wheatear now has their beady eye on you, but needs grounding. I have added some tufts of grass and strands of heather. This represents the dry, rocky habitat where I saw the Wheatear, foraging for nesting material.
Finally my watercolour of the Wheatear is finished. I have enjoyed painting this beautiful bird. I encourage you all to look out for Wheatears when you’re out walking on the hills.