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ABA Bird of the Year, Part Four

Thursday, March 29, 2012

We're still working on the Birding cover for ABA's Bird of the Year issue. Evening grosbeaks! This one, female. 

I lay in the basic washes on the female bird first. I’ve been waiting for this moment, to see how her colors bounce off the colors in the road.

She looks flat here  because I haven’t modeled her shape or shaded the underside. I just want to get her colors laid in first.

With a little shading, she looks much rounder. I’ll work on her more, but for now I decide to work on the landscape a bit more, now that I have her to tie it into the painting.  I darken those stripey violet shadows coming across the road and the grass. They’ll give the sense of dappled sunlight, which I think is already coming across pretty well. The darker the shadows, the brighter the apparent light source. And violet shadows evoke reflected skylight and mix wonderfully with greens, which is more than you can say for a lot of colors. Cobalt Violet and Cobalt Blue are my two main shadow colors.

What I can say at the end of the third day of working on this is that all the planning and masking were worth it. The painting part is sheer joy.  I love the way the female works with the dirt road in the landscape. Best part is yet to come: Painting the boys!!


The timing on this series is perfect. I was just watching a brilliant yellow male at Mom's feeder the other day.

Thank you for sharing your talents with us.

Posted by Anonymous March 29, 2012 at 9:44 PM

Julie, you are a woman of many talents. Not only are you doing this incredible artwork, but you write about it so well too. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm as you work on the cover image. I can't wait to get this issue in my hands and tell my husband the story of all the work that went into it!

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