How To Paint A Fieldfare In Watercolor – Bird Painting (Video Tutorial)

by | February 19, 2019 | Drawing Birds, From my desk, Illustration, Video, Watercolor | 2 comments

The fieldfare is a common bird here in winter, and it’s a delight to paint. In this video I share my entire process for painting a bird with a lot of detail.

How to paint a realistic bird in watercolor

Click on the video to start the tutorial. You can slow down the video (in the Youtube options) to see more details.

I start with a light, but exact graphite sketch (after making several studies beforehand) and layer the watercolor in several washes from light to dark.

I paint in a dark value (eyes and feet) fairly early in the painting process so I can adjust the other values more easily. I don’t always do this, but I often find it helpful to get a feeling for the full tonal range.

The light washes come to life when they are layered on top of each other, and you will get a luminous, rich color over time. It’s important to use transparent, single-pigment paints for this. Applying brush strokes with the texture in mind (feathers, beak, smooth or ruffled) will help to achieve a realistic effect.

You can see me erasing parts of the drawing with a kneaded eraser - these don’t leave bits on the paper and are not harsh on the paper.

I use high quality paper (100% cotton) that can take a lot of mechanical stress - painting several layers and lifting paint repeatedly is not a problem for this paper. Use your inexpensive (cellulose) paper for sketchbook work, for detailed paintings you will need something that can take a lot of water and will work together with your paint.

Materials I used for this painting:

Paints: Schmincke Horadam Neutral Grey (PR255 + PO62 + PB60), Transparent Siena (PR101), Transparent Umber (PR101), Transparent Yellow, Winsor & Newton Davy's Grey (PG17 + PBk6 + PBk19 + PW5), Daniel Smith Buff Titanium (PW6:1)
Brushes: Leonard size 4/size 2 round brush (synthetic)
Paper: Arches hot-pressed

I love exploring the natural world with watercolor, and I especially love painting birds. I hope you’ve enjoyed this detailed tutorial. If you have any questions or comments or want to see a specific tutorial in the future, please let me know below! Make sure to subscribe to my Youtube channel so you don't miss out on future videos.



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  1. It was nice to watch the painting process. Thanks for writing, here, what you did exactly. That was very helpful.

    • Thank you very much Paz. :)


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Julia Bausenhardt Illustrator & Nature Enthusiast

In this blog I write about art and nature, sketching, pigments and watercolor techniques, nature journaling, workshops and more.
I want to show how you can connect to nature through making art in your sketchbook, and how you can discover both the natural world and your own creativity that way.

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