Watercolor Painting: Blue Jay

Time for another watercolor painting! I have painted two butterflies from photographs I found on google, this time I'm painting a blue jay. As a reminder if you haven't been following my blog, I started painting with watercolors this summer and have been teaching myself various techniques via the internet and lots of practice (so I'm a beginner). 

I sketched out the bird and the branch, but not much else on this one. I figured I'd wing (pun intended) the background as I went.

As you can see in the painting above, I wetted down the background and laid down some color. In the first pass of the background, the crabapple blossom areas are purple, I changed them to a pinker shade as I worked on the background. I also ended up removing the branch on the right. It left the painting a bit off balance, but I didn't like the angle the branch was coming out at. Every layer of paint, brought the colors closer to what I wanted them--that's one of my favorite features of watercolor painting--that you can layer and remove paint to reach the effect you'd like.

My biggest challenge with this painting was the crabapple blossoms. I couldn't seem to get them to look right, even in the watercolor-y out of focus way. After lots of detail work, I ended up very satisfied with the bird, and I'll probably crop some of the right side of the photo off if/when I frame it since it ended up as just a blank area.


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