Birds in watercolour… flame robin

The flame robin is one of our beautiful, colourful small birds in Tasmania. Although we do not get them in our garden, a friend, Natalia, in nearby Wilmot has resident, chubby, “robin red breasts”. Natalia, took the photo from which I have painted this robin in watercolour. I am lucky that she is so good at taking clear photos and has permitted me to use her image for reference. Still a little twigging to do on this work in progress, and the decision on whether to create a background (if I do I usually design my own, often incorporating our Australian eucalypts). What do you think?
No background emphasises the shapes of the negative spaces and offers no competition to the subject, so the viewer focuses solely on our little feathered friend.
Background gives a sense of place, can lead the eye on a journey and offers more interest in colour and design.

Watercolour, flame robin, a work in progress

Watercolour, flame robin, a work in progress

Enjoying Winter Sunshine

The temperature only reached 11 degrees C today but the sunshine was lovely. Late this afternoon a flock of birds decided to “sunbake” on our nectarine tree. With their feathers fluffed they looked much larger than our little summer sparrows. With no leaves on the tree it was easier to focus on one of them but I may edit with Photoshop to remove the branch next to the beak. It was good that the sun was shining from behind me so the eye shows clearly. Often when I photograph birds here they are in a position where they are silhouetted and the eye is not visiblesparrow 2

New Holland Honeyeater…. digital photo

I have posted this photo on my facebook page but thought I would post here too for those people who follow my blog but are not connected on fb. I am a keen amateur photographer, often using my images as support or stimulus for paintings. But I also love photography as an art medium in its own right…. sometimes creative and sometimes, as in this shot, simply to record the beauty of the natural world. This New Holland  Honeyeater is an Australian Native bird. They are very energetic and flit quickly through the mass of branches and blooms of this beautifully flowering Japonica. This photo was taken from our dining room.

Painting Blue Wrens in watercolour

Two of the  commission works which I have to get busy on are of Blue Wrens. Fortunately these delightful birds have been regular visitors to our garden in the past  months so I have photos. At Penguin Market this Sunday I will be working on one of the paintings. I expect I will use a combintion of tube watercolour, and Inktense and traditional watercolour pencils. Retaining some of the pencil marks is a great way to suggest feather texture. Penguin Market, Arnold St Penguin is on from 9 to 3,30 Sundays. This will be the last one for this year. Next is 8 January but due t cataract surgery I may miss that one. Sorry. 


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This Sunday 23rd Oct at Penguin Market I will demonstrate working with Inktense and other watercolour (aquarelle) pencils. Inktense are very soft and make beautifully vibrant marks which can be dissolved and blended easily… looking like transparent layers of ink. I tend to use them in conjunction with various water soluble pencils. I will have a variety you can try to see how different brands vary and I will offer hints on how I find they are best used. The  slide show here shows the nasturtiums I painted on silk using gutta technique last Sunday and a couple of examples of working with Inktense and Aquarelle pencils. (note these are quick i-phione photos taken indoors so reproduction accuracy is limited. The wren is unfinished).