Romeo – a bluetit in oils

Meet Romeo, he’s one of a number of bluetits, long-tailed tits & great tits that visit the garden each day. I had already completed a charcoal sketch of him to see how he would look without really noticing the little bit of menace in his eyes. I don’t quite know how I managed to miss that. Anyway I certainly spotted it when I was painting him.

Bluetits have always been an issue for me when it comes to representing them in art. Whilst I love drawing probably above all else, the colour is quite an issue. Another recent bluetit I drew in charcoal I resisted the urge to put any colours in and that was a successful drawing, beautifully rendered with the charcoal as I knew it would. In the past however I have drawn them and then been tempted to add a little bit of colour. But which bit of colour? Do you go for the blue cap and ignore the yellow, or the darker blue / green of the wing? Then you end up with a coloured drawing rather than a drawing with a dash of colour. This time I went full out and painted him and I’m so glad that I did. The blue and yellow of bluetits are the most peaceful, calm colours that nature can provide. I spent far too long simply moving the paint around the board.

Here is the original photo that I took of Romeo….

This particular feeding tray is the favourite of small birds like this. It is hooked on the branch of the tree and nestles in amongst the branches so they feel a little safer than the feeding trays that are out in the open of my patio. It’s not great for photographing when they sit inside the tray but when they sit on the edge like this I can capture a better shot.

Romeo is painted on a wooden block A4 size in my usual alla prima style with a rough back ground of raw umber. Here’s short clip video of progress shots of the painting so you can see how I built up the colour…

It was just a coincidence that Romeo was painted during Valentines the name actually came from the book I was listening to at the time. I like to pick my names this way. Often times I can look at a piece of art that I have completed and remember which book I was listening to when I painted it – a funny quirk of studio time.

Romeo is available to buy from my website shop, click here to visit him.

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