“snuggle into this moment like a bird into her nest,” I wrote in a poem, which prompted me to search online for images of nesting birds. I found this photo of a flammulated owl nestling.
I had a good time with my research. First, to discover that “flammulated” means “flame colored.” Then, to read about flammulated owls. Then, not a good time, to sit with my mourning about habitat and species loss.
Funneling into my inspiration was watching videos of watercolor artists at work (thank you, YouTube). I keep learning about washes and letting colors mix on the paper. Painting while holding the brush in my mouth is not a quick process, so I can’t work wet-into wet the way I might like. Still, I learn by watching and then making reasonable accommodations.
What a lovely creature to contemplate!
I made several test palettes of blues, grays, purples and greens. That helped me understand what was likely and possible with the paints I am using.
Then, I worked background to foreground, concentrating on the nesting fibers around the bird before moving to the bird itself. Then, I worked on giving the body some depth.
Finally (and most nerve-rackingly), I painted the face, including the eyes. Working with my somewhat-unpredictable body makes painting animal expressions tricky. One wrong slip of the brush ruins the painting since watercolor marks can’t be corrected.
it helped for the subject to be a simple shape.
The combination of long thin lines and small, blobby areas fits my brushes and abilities.
I am happy when I am painting. Sharing the product and the process (even if it’s only virtual and therefore somewhat in my imagination) and to my happiness.