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Sunday, December 09, 2012

Mini Pastel Demo ...Mountain Chickadee

'Mountain Chickadee'              5x7            pastel            ©Karen Margulis

I was in the mood to paint birds today.  My usual set up for small bird or animal paintings is to sit at a table with my paper on a small piece of foamcore. This works well for 6x8 or smaller pieces. I decided to use Canson Mi-Teintes paper in the Moonstone color. I actually love Canson for painting animals.  It gives you a nice soft surface and allows for just enough layers to help keep the painting fresh.  I am sharing the few photos I took of my process. It is a quick process and was hard to remember to stop and take photos!

 My set up for today's painting.  My reference photo is on my iPad.  I put down a towels to catch any dust.  My pastels are in a butcher tray although my big studio box is on the table as well.  I chose a few pastels to help keep a limited palette.

After I did an initial quick sketch I block in the dark values on the bird and the branch.  I layer 2 or 3 dark colors to make these areas rich and colorful.  I put the highlights in the eye right away because the eye gives my bird life and I want to get it right! Besides it is nicer to look at while I paint!

I look at my reference photos and try to see what colors are in the feathers.  I know that the Mountain Chickadee looks grey, black and white, but I see lots of colors in his feathers. I see greens and gold undertones so I put them in now.  I exaggerate the colors a bit because I know I can always tone them down.  I also start to put in some of the darker background colors. I will lighten this some.

Next I put in the lightest colors. I use pale values of yellow and blue in the white areas of the bird. At this point I am almost finished. It is just a matter of finishing the background and tightening the details on the bird.  I also lost track of taking photos!  For the background I added some pale blues and yellows.

Finishing touches:  I uses a pastel pencil to define the beak and some of the darker feathers. I used a pale purple pastel to draw some distant branches. I dusted a bit of white pastel for some snow sparkle. 


Mariela said...

Lovely one...

Peggy said...

Beautiful little bird! I really like chickadees :)