Category Archives: Birds

Little Joe – Original charcoal bluetit drawing

Meet Little Joe, he’s a bluetit that comes regularly to my garden and the feeders. Like most bluetits he’s always moving, darting in and out, never still.  When he’s on one feeder he’s always looking to the next one, full of life and energy.

charcoal drawing of a bluetit
Little Joe
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Two for Joy #2

coloured colored pencil drawing of two magpie feathers

Two for Joy #2

My latest study is two magpie feathers.  I love magpies and I particularly love their feathers.  I have collected quite a few over that last few years so I’ve decided to number them as I feel there will be more ‘Two for Joy’ coming up.

For this pair I found the feather on the left first.  I nearly left it as it was on its own.  I loved the stark contrast of the block of white but knew it didn’t match any of the feathers I have.  It’s quite short so I am guessing that it is from their wing feathers.  Luckily I kept it and decided to hold onto it until I found a matching feather.  Continue reading

Morning Glow – an original charcoal drawing of an egret

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This Moment.
Sunrise at dawn.
Wading into each others lives.
Togetherness and warmth
(Jack Thompson 2015)

Meet Denis, he’s an egret.  I mistook him for a stork initially but I am better informed now.  Many thanks to Diane Pickering for the kind use of her reference photo.

What I loved about this image was the soft glow of the morning sun hitting the twigs around Denis’ feet and illuminating his bottom feathers, making them glow a lovely warm yellow.

Quite a large piece I had initial decisions to make, do I keep it large and include the habitat or exclude the habitat and focus on the bird itself.  I decided to keep it large – he’s a large bird afterall and have a go at working with the habitat.

It became apparent that I would need to find a method to work with the habitat, I am not used to working on landscapes, my mind was overtaken with all the detail in those twists of twigs and stick.

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After experimenting with several different methods I settled on darkening the whole image and placing the dark shadows in first, then lightening it gradually, reinforcing the dark areas and lifting out the lighter areas.  This is how I work my portraits and fortunately it worked.  The trick is to keep a really light hand with the charcoal so you can blend it in or lift it out.  Here’s a quick video of me drawing it……

and another little video where I am describing the process …

Once I’d cracked the habitat I was able to work calmly on the bird itself.  Being a white bird it was necessary to keep a very light hand and concentrate on the lighter end of the grayscale.

Here is a little slideshow of all the bits of my progress shots…

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I hope you have enjoyed the progress shots of the making of ‘Morning Glow’, Denis has been framed in a dark wooden frame and is ready to hang.

Morning Glow - framed

Denis can be purchased from my online shop, click here or on the image above.

Mindfulness – original oil painting swan

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My latest bird art painting is called ‘Mindfulness’.  I called it that because I was touched by the present moment that the swan is just about to enter the mist.  Everything is about that moment.

I wanted to keep it very warm and not sinister so retained a palette of pinky grey as my main colour throughout the painting.  This was achieved by mixing french ultramarine with Alizarin crimson to create a purple and then adding some indian yellow.  That created a warm grey, pink was added to create the pink tone and then varied from light to dark of the same mix.

Here are some progress shots:

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The piece has been framed in my favourite type of dark wooden rustic frame…

Mindfulness - in frame

I am entering ‘Mindfulness’ into exhibitions throughout the year.  In the meantime it can be bought directly from my shop by clicking here or the image below.

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Bird Art – Maxwell – original charcoal & watercolour sparrow

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This is Maxwell.

I named him after a character in a historical novel I was listening to whilst drawing him.

He’s been a saved photograph for quite a while, and in fact I have tried to draw him a few times.  Due to the fluffy nature of his coat it would only work with certain mediums.  Also, interestingly, I always have a problem with brown.  Lots of birds and animals have quite a lot of tan colour in their feathers and coats, for some reason that colour or tone always seem to be absent from my sets of pastels.

In the end I had to mix it myself.  It’s the first time I’ve used watercolour with charcoal but they work quite well as long as the charcoal drawing has been fixed before you start applying the paint.

Here are a few progress shots….

Maxwell, as with Betty was painted in charcoal initially.  It gives the bird a good flowing undercoat before working in my detail with the sticks of charcoal.  Probably a bit more controlled than with Betty.  Once the charcoal is dry its very easy to manipulate it, move it around, lift it off etc.

He always seems to be quite chirpy to me, singing away merrily…

The finished piece is available in my website shop – click here to go there!

Or click on the framed piece below…

Maxwell - framed

Sebastian – original charcoal drawing of a junco

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Meet Sebastian

He’s a little junco bird, a very fluffy one.

Charcoal is a great medium for capturing movement.

Birds are never still, they are constantly moving or about to.  When drawing or painting birds I like to ensure I’ve captured that flitting sense that a bird has.

 

Here are some progress shots as I build up the charcoal…

 

I make sure the bird is completely drawn in charcoal first, adding the colour just at the end.

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Sebastian is available to buy from my website shop here

Or click on the image below to visit him….

Sebastian (2)

Pheasant Fan – original coloured pencil drawing of pheasant feathers

pheasant feathers original coloured pencil drawing from life

I have called this one Pheasant Fan.  It has taken me about 2 months to complete working on it for an hour or so each morning.  I find this method allows me to work on fine detail and then step away and see it again with fresh eyes the next day.

My husband picked up 5 feathers whilst walking our dog Charlie.  The 5 feathers were all different sizes and spread out made a lovely fan….

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My excitement was complete as I know I will be able to produce work from these feathers for many years to come.

Settling on the largest 3 I maintained the fan composition, playing around to get the shadows correct.  My first job is to draw the outline of the feathers in a light graphite drawing. making note of the imperfections in the feathers, which give the drawing more character….

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Then the next 2 months were spent working on the many layers needed.  I make the first layers darker than needed, marking the tone initially in light and dark ochre.  Here’s some progress shots….

The original drawing has been framed in a gorgeous black and gold frame to 18 x 12″…

Pheasant Fan Framed

Pheasant Fan is available from my website shop here or click on the image above to follow the link…