This afternoon I decided that I would paint a bird today, and I selected a robin because then I could use some warm oranges and reds – something I don’t do that often. I started with a quick rough pencil sketch to define the contours, and then I started painting. I first added a pale golden yellow layer for under the parts that would be bright and warm, and then I added some blueish greys for the parts that had more shadow.
Then I started building up the colours. First some golden yellow, then different oranges and reds. For the wing and the tail section I worked with different browns and greys. I was patient this time and gave the painting some time to dry in between layers, going back and forth between the breast and the wing/tail section, so that I didn’t have to really wait.
At this point I was working on the edges, the beak and the eye. I added several layers on top of each other (blue – green – red – blue again – burnt umber) to make those parts darker. In the picture above I had just added green on top of the blue. The first three layers (blue – green – red) were just for intensifying the colour. Then I added blue again, because I wanted to finish off with brown (those two together would mix into a nice grey). But in the second layer of blue I accidentally added blue to the highlight in the beak, and it was a staining blue, so I couldn’t remove it…
I tried to fix that by adding a layer of diluted brown on top of it, so it wouldn’t be bright blue anymore. I added some bright red to the breast to finish the picture. I’m quite happy, even though I may have overworked the painting a bit. I like the way the highlights have vanishing edges, and I like the fact that the robin looks quite realistic. The values are okay (although the edges may be a bit too dark now). I really enjoyed painting this!