“It takes 100 per cent of your attention and focus, backed up with years of drawing experience, to train yourself to paint what you see.” Steve Childs
Mindo Ecuador –
Sometimes several washes of color are more effective for building texture and depth. The cecropria limb started with light washes of blues and greens, and the lightest areas were saved while darker pigments brought form and texture to the painting. The tree limb needs another session when I can work from life and apply the subtle details.
Toucans are quite social, so the study has a few support characters! The next image shows the small painting. With watercolor, one tries to save the whites, as in the spots of light on the eyes. One mistake many people make is to try to rush the painting, and they are rewarded with a dark color running into a lighter one. Placing the dark pigment (Paynes gray + burnt sienna + ultramarine blue) in the eye area would be a fatal mistake if the green pigment had not dried. Moving to the tree limbs – or even to a different painting is the best option. Taking a break or putting the painting in the sun or waiting until the next day are other options.
A second wash of yellow brings the toucans to life!
Do you think the cecropria leaves need to be painted as lifelike as possible, or should they remain unobtrusive in the background with only washes of color? Or should they be left in pencil while the toucans and limbs illustrate realism?
Decisions decisions! One never realizes how many decisions are made while painting!
We will now switch channels and critique a painting of a little yellowish bird; it came to life wash by wash until the texture of its feathers took form. There are probably five or six washes of yellow/yellow green, and each one was a bit more precise while letting dry areas of the previous wash remain in place. I introduce to you the female Olive-crowned Yellowthroat.
The above painting demanded 100% of my focus and hours and hours of attention to detail. Until the right color of yellow is located, it will patiently wait on its perch! Painting can definitely be hard work, but the end result is usually rewarding! If not, consider it an exercise and move to the next challenge!