The Dragon in my Garden

The Dragon in my Garden

My latest bird art is a painting. Carrying on with the alla prima style I wanted to see how it would respond to a bird painting……

I took a photo of this starling back in the summer. We were blessed with a family group of starlings who brought up their young in and around our garden. Their visits to my garden were noisy affairs, but uplifting and such fun to watch. This is one of the males in the group soaking up the summer sun…….

I have always thought that starlings are a bit like dragons. When seen from a distance they appear dark black or brown but when the sun catches their feathers a multitude of colours are revealed. The way their feathers stack up around their body reminds me of the scales of a dragon, gleaming like jewels.

My painting process involves using mixes of raw umber with white to create various shades, I need to add some French Ultramarine to get a dark tone. I paint with large flat brushes in blocks working out the shapes and shadows of my subject. I don’t add colour until I really have to, there are many layers of tones of raw umber underneath. The really flat brushes glide nicely over wet paint without digging into it. I made a short clip video of the various stages in the painting…

Overall it took two days to complete the painting, covering up the oil paints overnight to keep them fresh. Its painted on a wood panel which is my favourite to use. They have enough tooth to take the paint but don’t have the frustrating bumpy bits in the wrong places that I find with canvas. The finished painting was a finalist in the Wildlife Artist of the Year 2019 and is now sold.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s