Friday, July 29, 2016

Share Your Cup #208 - Cardinal on Birch

I did some painting this week with my aunt who is a painter.

I was wanting to make some art of the gallery show in December.  I did some research on the internet of birch trees.  Some were very graphic, some in between and some very realistically painted.  I was leaning toward the very graphic but ended up with something more painted.

I will describe my steps in the process.

Step One: 
Draw a sketch of your concept.  I was planning a card stock cardinal to be added after the painting.  I wanted a dark center to represent the woods farther away and the horizon line.  Medium color on the bottom for snow and lighter in the sky.


Step Two: Gather your supplies.  I chose Cadmium Red Medium, Cobalt Blue Hue, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Titanium White, and Phthalocyanine Blue.  I had several paint brushes and a 10x10 stretched canvas.

Step Three:
Mask off the birch trees.  I borrowed 1/2 inch masking tape as mine was 1" wide.  My aunt suggested that I use shorter pieces so the sides would not be perfectly straight as trees generally do not have absolutely straight sides.  This would provide an opportunity for branches later.  I plan to put my cardinal in the top right hand corner so I masked off a negative space for him there.

Step Four:
Paint the background.  My aunt helped me mix up my colors.  The center is orange (created from red and yellow) and cobalt blue.  As you can see the color was not mixed into an even color but was left somewhat random and painted on with a large brush which produced a variety of colors.  I managed to get my dark colors lower than the center so the top would be taller than the bottom. We don't want the painted to be divided into exact thirds.

Step Five:
Remove the masking tape. Once the paint was dry I removed the masking tape to reveal my trees. Pretty flat and one dimensional at this time.

Step Six:
Paint the bands on the trees.  My aunt suggested double dipping the corners of my .5 inch wide flat brush in the white paint and the brown paint we had mixed.   Then as I paint I will be applying both colors at the same time.  I fortunately painted several samples of a test paper because she warned me not to paint them across from each other which is exactly what I had done on my test paper.  I alternated where the brown was sometimes at the top and others at the bottom and varied the distance between bands as well.  This is really a dry brush technique.

Step Seven:
Define the edges of the trees and add branches.   Again, continuing to mix a brown color I applied the edges of the trees with a very small brush.  Working on one side then turning the painting over and working on the other side of the farthest tree to ensure I did not put my hand in the wet paint.  I painted a branch for my cardinal in the top right hand corner.  Once that was done I created a thin very light brown paint which I applied to all the spaces with no bands to remove the flat white spaces on the tree.  This was applied with a bit of a curve to the stroke to create dimension on the tree.

Step Eight:
Paint the edges of the canvas.  I mixed a dark brown color from the same colors as before.  I painted the edges trying to keep a very clean line on the top edge of the side.  With enough paint on the brush it went pretty well.

Step Nine:
The cardinal.  After checking on the internet and finding several samples that provided aspects I wanted,  I drew the cardinal.  I wanted him facing the right direction and be looking out of the painting. I drew him in black ink pen so I could scan him and clean it up.

I printed it onto red card stock a couple of times then cut him out with fine scissors.  I then traced him all again with the same black marker.  I added the eye with a white paint marker with the center created with the black marker.  I mixed up some orange yellow paint and painted the beak.  Again going over with the black marker to redefine the edges. I then cut out the wing and applied the same process again.  I then added highlights with a white pencil crayon to the bird and the wing.  I adhered the wing with 4 Zots to create some dimension.  The bird is adhered to the canvas again with Zots to add just a bit of shadow.

Here's the final painting so far. I had planned words for the bottom left hand corner to balance the bird and add more dimension.  I have not decided yet if there will be something and what it will be.  I will add another photo when I decide. I would like to thank my aunt Maria for the invitation to paint with her and for her advise and encouragement.

Sharing with Share Your Cup #208 hosted by Carol at Art and Sand.


  1. What a cute piece of art! I love the cardinal. Have a wonderful day!

  2. I thought at first you'd used the stamp and die I've seen a similar card made with but this is way more artistic.

  3. Such a lovely work of art! Happy Sunday♥

  4. How cute! Cardinals are one of my favorite birds. I really like the 3D effect you created. A Bible verse would look lovely in the corner!
    Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse

  5. Beautiful work!

    Thanks for sharing with SYC.


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