I've been working on a painting of a Robin for a friend's birthday. It is based on a photo I took of a nesting Robin in our Japanese Red Maple tree (Acer palmatum atropurpureum). I noticed the Robin's nest while using the scope to watch the Bluebirds in the Martin House. I was looking through the branches of the Red Maple at the Martin House. The Red Maple is a beautiful tree, it leafs out red and as the leaves mature they slowly change to green. The progression of red to orange to yellow to green can be seen on each leaf like a reverse of fall coloration. The Robins had made a large twig nest in the lichen covered branches of the tree, and it was framed by the multi-colored leaves of the Red Maple.
I began working on the Robin project about a month ago. In that time I have done four paintings. Each painting has its good points, and each was done slightly differently in an effort to improve what I didn't like in the previous painting (more on those later). The one thing they all have in common is a palette of Quinacridone Rose, Phthalocyanine Blue, Cadmium Yellow and Lemon Yellow.
For the first painting I used the poured watercolors method I learned from Kie Johnson during a workshop earlier this year. First I masked the Robin, nest, seeds and branches. Then I poured Quinacridone Rose and Cadmium Yellow on the paper for the first layer. After the paint dried I poured a second layer of Phthalocyanine Blue and Lemon Yellow.
After the second layer dried I removed the masking and painted the Robin, nest, seeds and branches. I used a bit of Yellow Ochre and Burnt Umber in the nest and branches. I also added a few suggestions of leaves to the background.