Painting the Tanager


                                                                  Brazilian Tanager

               For the bird, the first layer that I`ve put in, wet in wet, is a very light mix of  Daniel Smith hansa yellow medium and Schminke translucent orange, favouring the yellow, leaving the white of the paper for two regions 1. where the throat overlaps the mantle 2. where the wing converts overlap the breast area. These two regions have light- valued feathers which I`ve saved in all the successive layers. Also, save the white for the eye, beak and feet.

base layer

                          The next layer has a mix of hansa yellow medium and ruby red, the colors I`ve used for the leaves and flower. Using translucent orange alone here in this area will set it apart from the rest of the painting, as though it does not belong to this painting, always spread your colors throughout the painting.

second layers

                 The upper part of the bird is brighter, more of the mix in the previous layer here, favouring the red. The lower portion is in shadow, I`ve used a mix of ruby red and cobalt blue to make a violet, to tone down the yellow-orange mix.

third layers

                   In this layer, I`ve used the same shadow mix as above, to further define the bird, favouring the yellow for the lower portion and the red for the upper portion. I`ve used a violet mix for the wing area, large areas of pure black can sometimes look like holes in the painting. This violet mix contains ruby red, cobalt blue tone and also cerulean blue tone because you need a darker value here which cobalt blue alone cannot make since it has a low tinting strength. Cerluean blue tone has a medium tinting strength (phthalo blue, on the other hand is quite strong) The lesser wing converts have some orange as well. Wash in a little bit of orange in the eye, then drop in a dark violet. Don`t flood in the highlight, the eye will look dead without it.

fourth layers


                 For the final step, paint in feathers with light strokes. You can do this on a slightly damp wash, or lightly wash them away after painting them, so that they don`t look too harsh. The feathers have the same colors as the body, translucent orange and the shadow mixes. Paint in just enough to capture its essence, too much will look laboured… although the effortless look really comes with practice and not through any technique. You can observe this yourself  if you`ve painted the same subject a couple of times. The outlines in all layers have been softened with a damp brush near the head and  chest area, to get that fluffy look. This can be more refined while putting in the background. The feet and beak have the same violet mix. You can grey it down a bit by adding some yellow for the feet. Leave a highlight for each of the claws. Dry brush a little on the feet and beak.

Brazilian Tanager

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