How to paint a golden pheasant

I painted a golden pheasant to enter into the Wildlife Artist of the Year competition 2013. It is on a 70cm x 70cm canvas, and it used a lot of paint! But I am pleased with it, so thought I would share with you today how it was born.

 You will need:

  • A 70cm x 70cm canvas
  • Your photograph with gridlines drawn on, (this can be on your laptop screen)
  • Lots and lots of colours of acrylic paint (including GOLD, purple and yellow 🙂
  • A palette (I use empty foil dishes from quiches. My parents are quiche fans!)
  • Water
  • Masking tape
  • A variety of sizes of paintbrushes (large flat ones, a set of varying sizes of little rounded ones)
  • A playmat!
  1. Firstly I drew up my canvas, gridding on the main outlines of the bird and the many different sections of feathers to the corresponding square on my photograph.

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  2. Next I did a thin colour wash on each section. A bit like painting by numbers!
    IMAG0793[1]
  3. With the section of thin yellow feathers on his back, I firstly painted the section a darkish yellowy browny colour. I then used a little round brush and pale yellows and oranges to swipe little feathers onto the canvas. This part took ages as I really wanted it to match the photograph totally.
    IMAG0795[1]

     

  4. With the orange feathers with purple tips, I firstly painted it orange. I then sectioned off parts using masking tape as it all looked the same! This enabled me to paint the purple patterns onto the canvas in exactly the right place.

    IMAG0799[1]

  5. After I had finished this, I proceeded to go over and over this section with swipes of white, yellow, orange and gold to make the feathers look 3D. I used blue, purple and metalic blue on the tips, again using a little rounded brush.

    IMAG0811[1]

  6. With the blue feathers at the bottom, I used varying shades of blues and purple and white to create large feather shapes.
  7. With the pink feathers, I used the little rounded brush again, with a mix of purple, magenta and white feathers, constantly referring to the photograph to get areas of light and dark in the correct place

    IMAG0812[1]

  8. With the narrow blue feathers above the yellow section and below the orange section (I am losing track too!) I firstly painted it dark blue. Then I used metallic blue mixed with normal blue and a touch of white to create a 3D effect when I painted each feather shape.
  9. Next I concentrated on the face , using my littlest brush, and a range of browns and purples and my favourite colour, flesh tint! I used little curly brush strokes to make the face fluffy.
    IMAG0813[1]
  10. I painted the eye using white with a hint of green, to create a pale aqua. I made sure to put a little white gleam on the pupil.
  11. I used a fairly large round brush and thick yellow paint to create the mohawk, using long sweeping brushstrokes in varying shades of yellow. I then used white paint to create strands of hair caught by the light.
    IMAG0818[1]
  12. Finally, with the beak, I used browns and gold paint to create a shiny pointy beak.
  13. Its not my normal style, but I painted the background last! Im normally a firm believer in painting backgrounds first. However, I really couldnt decide what to do with it. I plumped with a base of sap green, using my hands to rub in lighter areas with white and yellow and darker areas with purple to create a soft focus.
    goldenpheasantjan13wm

Ta daaa – Hope you liked the guide and let me know what you think!
I will keep you posted on how I do in the competition!

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Rules are different when its snowing… right?

Some people find pleasure from sharing negativity, but I am not one of them.

I have seen several little instances around me of just that this week.

The first involved me. A guard fined me on the train for travelling without a railfare.

Satisfactory in itself, but I had sought him out specifically to pay, I wasn’t attempting to rob national rail, and it had been perfectly acceptable, sometimes even encouraged on all journeys prior. And it was snowing. Everyone knows that all rules are relaxed when it is snowing… right?!

Woods in snow

“Why don’t you have a valid ticket?”
“I guess I didn’t give enough time to walk to the station this morning in the snow… And I didn’t fancy waiting half an hour in the cold either when I could get on a nice warm train… nor did I fancy being late for my meeting at work…”

Apparently these weren’t good excuses, although I think they are pretty up there, only just below “My waters broke and I needed to get the train to hospital” or “insert another emergency situation here.”

I think he got a lot of pleasure from exerting this power, but not as much as I did muttering “jobsworth” under my breath and imagining him going home to his unsatisfying life still living at home with his mother and their pet gerbil, and putting on his Simpsons boxset.

The second instance was a man (also on the train) telling a lady off for making short (and in my opinion, quiet) phone conversation in the “quiet zone”, before he proceeded to natter more loudly to his wife.

“It says ‘no phones’, not no voices. We don’t make the rules.”

Don’t most people only sit in the quiet zone to try to avoid the shrieking child that runs around the carriage for the entire hour of journey? (My treat last week.)

It leads me to wonder, what is the point? You don’t make yourself any happier for doing that, and you don’t make others around you happier either. The accusee in question proceeded to point out a rather loud text coming through on the accuser’s phone five minutes, and rightly so – it disrupted me far more than her 2 minute phone call (although I couldn’t really care less about either, I was only there to avoid the crying children (sorry to any mothers reading.)

I have to admit, I do get wrapped up in what other people say and do around me, and let it affect me far more than I ought to. I used to stew over stuff like that for days, not letting things go that only deserve fleeting attention at most. But I am getting better at “not sweating the small stuff”. You can read my article on the Ramblings today which tells of my journey so far of letting go of worries and focusing on happiness instead!

When I need to give my brain a rest, I paint. My boyfriend actually joined me in playing with paint yesterday, which I really appreciated. We holed up in front of the television and watched the Prison Break box set (manly) and painted together. I succeeded in completing my painting of a golden pheasant for the British Wildlife Painting Competition , the most bizarre-looking animal. How is it adaptively advantageous to have orange feathers with purple tips, a yellow Mohawk and a pink body?

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I also drew some dog outlines for my boyfriend’s mum’s class at school (She’s a teacher before you wonder!) I found it pretty challenging actually, just drawing free hand. Back to basics for me!

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How is everybody this week? Hopefully sharing good moods and not ruining other people’s just for the sake of it!

“So how was your 2012?”

“So how was your 2012?”

…seemed to be a pretty standard question floating around last night.
Mine was ok. Not brilliant. But it saved itself in the last half.

So here are a few of my highlights, and let us forget all the bad, hard and sad parts because they no longer matter!

I painted this in February 2012, to the delight of the owner.

I painted this in February 2012, to the delight of the owner.

dissertation

I wrote and submitted a 10,000 word dissertation, gaining a first class mark.

I watched my boyfriend graduate his phase 2 training.

I watched my boyfriend graduate his phase 2 training.

I painted some puffins in some stolen free time.

I painted some puffins in some stolen free time.

I I spemt a carefree week partying after my final exams with all my university friends

I spent a carefree week partying after my final exams with all my university friends. In fancy dress. My favourite.

I went on the harry potter studio tour with a close friend, where the phrase of the day seemed to be "MIND BLOWN!"

I went on the harry potter studio tour with a close friend, where the phrase of the day seemed to be “MIND BLOWN!”

I started my job and got to go down the tunnels in the underground. Dressed in orange.

I started my job and got to go down the tunnels in London  Underground. Dressed in orange.

graduation

Two weeks after starting my job, I graduated with a first class degree, in front of my family and boyfriend.

I went to the Olympic games with the lovely boyfriend, and the Paralympics with my mum

I went to the Olympic games with the lovely boyfriend, and the Paralympics with my mum!

I painted the red arrows for my boyfriends birthday present. It was mainly painted while on skype to him, under the guise of "another puffin..."

I painted the red arrows for my boyfriends birthday present. It was mainly painted while on skype to him, under the guise of “another puffin…”

jk

I “met” (in the loosest sense of the word) my idol JK Rowling ❤ I couldn’t say anything more to her than “THANKS” but I didn’t meant thanks for signing my book, I meant thanks for making my childhood magical…

I painted my nutritionists greyhound / whippet

I painted my nutritionists greyhound / whippet

I have so far been commissioned to do 3 paintings for work colleagues.

I painted three commissions  for work colleagues.

I had a great christmas with my family, my boyfriend and his family... and to top it off had a fun new years eve.

I had a great Christmas with my family, my boyfriend and his family… and to top it off had a fun new years eve.

And most importantly, my attitude has changed. Now I know change is possible, and if I see myself thinking irrationally, I will catch myself (70% of the time).

I will think “is it a good use of my time to worry about this and be negative?” which has helped me go a LONG way in my health and happiness 🙂

So how was your 2012?