Gold and Blue Macaw – Watercolour


This week I painted a Gold and Blue Macaw.  They are really beautiful birds and often have the most loving and friendly personalities.

I began with a sketch…


Then I added some masking fluid to the face area…


Next I laid down some basic light coloured washes.  I aimed their tone to be the brightest of all of the tones in each area.  That way I could layer other washes on top and gradually pick up my mid-range and dark areas…


Once this was done I got down to rendering each surface with progressively darker washes and then adding details (my favourite part of any painting!)

Here’s the final picture…


I quite like his yellow under feathers and head, but if I were going to do this again I would work on my portrayal of his left wing.  It just doesn’t work as well as I’d hoped in my mind’s eye.



Field and Forest

Here are a couple of older paintings I did a few years ago.

One is an acrylic painting of the ‘Forest of Dean’.  I went there in my late twenties and was really seduced by it’s beauty.


The second is a watercolour of a barn owl flying low over a field one summer evening.  It was one of the first watercolours I ever tried to paint.  This was also inspried by real life.  I once saw a barn owl flying low like this just a few feet from me in the golden evening light of Cambridgeshire.  It was more beautiful than I can say.

Here’s the picture…



A Golden Barn Owl

Having played around with a barn owl pastel drawing yesterday my dreams were full of owls. (It didn’t help that I was listening to the audiobook of J. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ before going to sleep and Ron’s tiny owl ‘Pig’ was buzzing around the main characters like crazy.)  In the dream I painted a beautiful Barn Owl in acrylics using just blues and browns with some gold highlights.  Although this post is getting published on a Friday I tend to work a few days ahead of my blogs so for me it’s Saturday.   I don’t normally paint on Saturdays but  I really wanted to have a quick go at the picture in my mind before it disappeared.  So I made a sketch:


And then decided to paint it in watercolour because that’s much quicker and easier than acrylics (less cleaning up).  However, in the dream I used gold highlights and I only have gold paint in acrylic – so, for the first time, I made a painting using two types of paint – watercolour and acrylic.  This is the gold plaint I used:

gold paint

And this is the way it shines when the light hits it:


Here is the final painting: