2018 Workshop Details Coming Soon! click here
Visit my Patreon Page for more painting instruction

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Technique for Painting a Bird Nest in Pastel

'Renewal' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis
Purchase painting $125 sold
I love painting bird nests. Pastels are the perfect medium for painting nests. You get to use the pastels sticks as a painting tool for the larger areas and as a drawing tool for the weaving of the nest. You can use both hard and soft pastels and paint and draw. What could be better! It is easy to get caught up with the details of the nest materials too soon so I follow the same procedure I use for all of my paintings. I work from big simple shapes down to the details and from dark rich color to the lighter colors. Read the details of this painting below:


Building a Bird Nest
  1. I am working on LaCarte paper. I begin with a light drawing with a Nupastel. I am careful to have a light touch. The paper is easily dented and cannot get wet (but I love it)
  2. I block in the darkest areas with bold side strokes. I use several colors all the same dark value. No small pieces of straw yet...just the big underlying bold shapes.
  3. Next I block in all of the light shapes and the eggs and leaves. Once the entire paper if filled with the big shapes blocked in I am ready to start weaving the nest. I start with the darkest color 'straw' and weave my lines in and out like a bird. I will alternate harder pastels and softer ones so I can get a variety of lines. I gradually use lighter and warmer and brighter pastels making sure I give definition to the nest and keep consistent with the lighting.
  4. To finish the painting I work on bringing the eggs to a finish and add some warmer leaf shapes.




15 comments:

Susan Wymola said...

Karen, this is so neat! Thank you for sharing your beautiful art and talent!

Karen said...

Thank you Susan! I appreciate your kind words and you sharing my work!

Dorothy Bassett said...

Thanks Karen! I am dying to try pastels. Perfect timing ~ a beautiful nest for Easter!

Kathy Cousart said...

Really wonderful and enjoyed seeing your process. Love painting birds nests too. Thanks for sharing!

Karen said...

Thank you Dorothy. I hope you try pastels. They are so much fun!

Karen said...

Thank you Kathy! I appreciate it!

Donna T said...

Thanks so much, Karen! I have a nest on a branch in my studio and have to attempt painting it. Your nest is beautiful!

robertsloan2art said...

This is wonderful! Thank you for showing your process. The final results are so powerful and detailed that I know if I'd set out to copy it a few years ago I'd have done the reverse - tried to put those bits of dark color carefully between the straws and gotten bogged down in detail rather than the beautiful, sculptural process you built up to it with.

Wonderful demo!

Karen said...

Thank you Robert! It is actually a great way to build up any subject but it is so clear in a nest!

Sara Mathewson said...

Love the demo Karen and your bird's nests are always so cool! Love this one!!

Karen said...

Donna and Sara,
Thanks for the nice comments! I had not painted a nest in awhile and it felt good!

luc landhuys@skynet.be said...

thanks for sharing the art of pastels i'am trying pastels and your blog is a beautifull school

Claire Lajoie Alty said...

Wonderful demo Karen..thanks so much. I learned a few things.

Karen said...

You're welcome Claire! I'm glad you enjoyed the mini demo!

JacksonKell said...

Great job , Excellent painting.