Saturday, October 22, 2011


To cut down on the contrast between the bird and the background, I laid in a thin wash of warmish grey all around the image which doesn't show that well in the photo. Also there are some strange marks in the background that aren't there in the actual painting either - most strange! I tried deleting and up-loading the image a few times but each time was the same - really weird as this hasn't happened to me before (fortunately all this disappears when you click on the image).
Anyway, feeling better about the contrast, I worked a little more on the feathers of the cheek, throat and nape. Mostly this consisted of darkening them and adding a little definition here and there. The bill was darkened also and the brownish areas on top of the head were adjusted to be a little more on the ochre side. I do feel however that something was lost in the last step, mainly the sense of bright sunlight on the bird and consequently a slightly washed-out look. I could have countered this by deepening the shadow areas but as this portrait is really only a work-up to the coming studies, I left it as it was - I'll remember this for the next one. Also I didn't take as much time with this study as I usually do for two reasons; one, it is a smaller work and two, I wanted this one to be a little more like a watercolor sketch. At the time of writing this, I have already started on the next eagle painting and it will appear here soon. This watercolor is 6.5" X 5".


John Holmes said...

It's certainly a painstaking procedure, building up your layers as explained in Parts I to IV here.

Anyway, this beast has a compelling stare !

Jeremy Pearse said...

John, I have found that this is the only way that I can get the accuracy, detail and softness of plumage in my bird studies without having to overpaint with opaque watercolors (something I really don't like doing unless I am working with opaque paint in the first place). For me the beauty of watercolor comes from the light reflecting back from the surface of the paper and through the thinly applied colours rather than from the paint pigments themselves as they do in opaque colors. It's a wonderful effect when done properly and I still love to look at the watercolours of Cotman and Turner etc.