The spring is in full swing with sunshine, colorful blooms and sweet scents. It’s a perfect time to grab an easel and head outside to the garden, looking for spring painting ideas.
The garden is full of birds who flutter from branch to branch and chirp joyfully, in a hurry to make nests and start families. Luckily, there’s a plenty of cute and comfortable birdhouses for them to move into.
How about combining all these components into one simple watercolor illustration?
Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to paint a bird and birdhouse:
Note: The key to this tutorial is a layered approach to painting, which means you’ll let the paper dry completely after each step, before applying a new layer of paint.
Make a preliminary contour drawing. An easy way to do this is by mentally dividing the height of the paper into thirds (bird, birdhouse, flowers) and starting with a birdhouse in the middle.
For this painting, I used the selection of five colors (from top to bottom on the picture): burnt sienna, light red, yellow ochre, green gold, winsor violet. You can substitute them with any other colors of your choice, as long as they mix together well. Regarding the brushes, I took a couple of round ones, bigger and smaller in size.
At this step, use very weak solutions of paints. Take a bigger brush and apply ochre (very light, almost white) to the birdhouse and a bottom half of the bird. Mix green gold and light red for the leaves area. Lightly paint the flowers with red, keeping the color transparent and leaving some white areas. Paint the bird’s top half with the mixture of sienna and violet. Add a brush stroke of red to the background.
With a smaller brush, paint the roof and emphasize the flower centers using a mixture of red and sienna. Add more green around the birdhouse. Use a mixture of sienna and violet for the birdhouse hole and darker parts of the bird.
Add shadows to the birdhouse using sienna for the roof and the mixture of violet and a bit of sienna for the rest of it. Add more shadows to the area around the birdhouse, fill the flower centers with ochre and paint the stems.
Notice that some of the stems are painted using a negative technique, meaning they are kept light against the darker background.
Work on smaller details such as bird’s eye, beak and legs. Apply a very thin layer of violet to the bird’s belly to make it look shadowed. Paint the bird’s chest with red and sienna.
Work on the remaining details and shadows, adding more violet to the mixtures. Paint some cracks on the birdhouse walls and roof to give it a shabby look. Using various mixtures of violet, red and green, darken some parts of the leaves and flowers, so that the painting has more depth to it.
Now, make sure to find a frame worthy of your creation!