Wren painting delicate layers of watercolour (Troglodytes troglodytes)
The tiny Wren has joined the watercolour sketch series. A round small bird, with its tail usually sticking up, but with beautiful delicate markings. They are very tiny and I generally see them in the bird baths or under the hedges, but never at the bird feeder. They seem a solitary bird, but always have something to say. They have one of the loudest chirps, that pierces your ear and they will chirp for quite some time. I can often hear one from the studio, their chirp is unmistakeable.
Creating a watercolour painting of a Wren
The Wren has lost of tiny features and markings, so I needed two small paint brushes for painting. I use sable watercolour brushes. I find they can hold a lot of watercolour, with good brushstroke control. I created four watercolour palette mixes, an orange, a pink, a brown and a black.
First I used the orange mix, which was initially more a yellow/ orange than a true orange mix. I painted loose watercolour washes across the chest, body and tail of the Wren. Once the wash had dried I applied another layer and then repeated this a few more times. Next I turned the yellow/ ornange mix into a more orange hue. I then applied this wash directly over the yellow wash on the Wren’s wing and tail.
I then began painting with the brown mix, using a more yellow tone of brown. I used the smaller brush to apply short brushstrokes of this brown mix to the chest and under body of the Wren. This gave the underlying feathers texture. I also applied this mix to the head and the beak, leaving an unpainted line from the eye.
I needed a steady hand and tiny paintbrush to paint the detailed markings and features of the Wren.Using the tiny brush I painted the first pink washes to the feet. For a small bird the Wren has remarkably long feet and claws. I then used a stronger mix of pink to paint definition in the legs and feet.
The yellow/ brown mix was then made a darker tone of brown. I used the darker mix to paint all the fine markings on the Wren. I painted small lines of brown across the wings and the tail. Then I used the brown to create a line of definition around the legs and feet. Also I created small brown brushstrokes around the feet to give texture to the muddy ground.
Finally I painted the beak and the eye with the black mix. I left an area around the eye and within the eye unpainted. The unpainted areas represented the white colour in the painting.