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!)
- Masking tape
- A variety of sizes of paintbrushes (large flat ones, a set of varying sizes of little rounded ones)
- A playmat!
- 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.
- Next I did a thin colour wash on each section. A bit like painting by numbers!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- With the blue feathers at the bottom, I used varying shades of blues and purple and white to create large feather shapes.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Finally, with the beak, I used browns and gold paint to create a shiny pointy beak.
- 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.
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!