Baltimore Oriole

baltimore oriole DPB

I can’t believe it has been almost two months since I posted my last watercolor.  I allowed my perfectionism to get in the way of my enjoyment, I am ashamed to say.  I could not get my oriole to turn out the way I wanted to, so I trashed him.  And I stopped going into my little studio.  It was like the room no longer existed.

Finally I got over myself and started looking at some of the watercolor video channels I subscribe to on YouTube and got all enthused again.  It is not about being perfect, dang it.  It is about having fun with color and creativity and just playing. 

So here is my newest lesson from Drawing and Painting Birds by Shirley Porter, a lovely little Baltimore Oriole.  He didn’t turn out all that bad, I think.  He has a curious expression on his face, and he does look a bit three-dimensional.  Wings and tail doesn’t look much like feathers but whatever.  I’m letting myself off the hook there.

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Ring-Billed Gull

ring billed gull DPB

I really have to remember to do some research online before starting to paint from a book!  While my gull turned out a darker brown then the bird from Drawing and Painting Birds by Shirley Porter, hers didn’t really look much like the colors I see in images on line, either, except perhaps a gull in his first winter.

But he looks like a gull!  I’ll just pretend he is a weird hybrid who rolled around in the mud.  I had fun painting him so that is what matters.

I like his beak and although his legs look a bit too orange they look like feet to me finally – I reworked and reworked them until I was afraid I was going to rip the paper.

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Green Heron


I finally got back to my little studio to work on another watercolor bird from Drawing and Painting Birds by Shirley Porter.  Don’t you hate it when real life (i.e. work) gets in the way of fun?

I liked the way he turned out, simple though he is.  I really wish I could take a picture of me trying to paint little lines – I take my glasses off and get my face right up against the paper; it’s the only way I can focus.  I have to try with my contacts on, that might work out better.  Another year and half and my insurance will let me get a new pair of glasses, and this time I’m pretty sure it’ll be bifocals for me.

Next up is a wet on wet gull with spatter!  I love spattering,  so I can’t wait.

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Second lesson from Drawing and Painting Birds by Shirley Porter is this little cardinal.  I messed up his eye when I was trying to do the mask and had to resort to some white gauche because I couldn’t lift out the black.  I like the way his beak came out but I’m not happy with the leaves and his poor mutated feet and legs!  This was supposed to be a wet on wet lesson but I got way too impatient and didn’t let it dry enough before starting on the second pass.  I need to get a blow dryer – I’ve watched quite a few videos where the artists used a blow dryer to speed things up a bit so I don’t think it would be cheating!

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Northern Flicker


First lesson from the next in my list of watercolor books – Drawing and Painting Birds by Shirley Porter – is this common flicker.

I gave up trying to do the last lesson in Colette Pitcher’s Watercolor Painting For Dummies.  It was supposed to be a herd of horses charging through some water, and I just could not get it to look anything like a herd of horses.  I will have to come back and retry it sometime in the future, but it was so aggravating that I ended up avoiding my studio, which is not what I want to do with what is supposed to be a “fun” hobby.

Once I decided to give up and move on, and crumpled up my third attempt at the horses, I suddenly regained my enthusiasm and jumped right back in with the bird book.  The detail is a little blurry and jumbled up but I don’t care, I like the way he turned out.  The funny part is I had to actually take off my glasses and get my face right up against the paper when I was trying to do his feet and the branch.  I think I’m going to need to go for those bifocals the next time I hit the eye doctor.  Or maybe like Sallyann suggested in a comment, get one of those big old magnifying glasses!  Shaking hands and bad eyes do not fine details make.

I got three new watercolor books for my birthday from my friend Charlie.  I now have a stack of six books full of all sorts of great lessons.  I may skip around a bit from now on rather then trying to go front to back one at a time.   Look at all these great books!

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Once again my wobbling hands made it so hard to come up with straight lines!  My second-to-last Watercolor Painting For Dummies lesson had me playing with salt, sprinkling it into the sandy grass for texture.  I’m not too unhappy with it but I liked it better before I tried to put in the grass and flowers in the foreground.  I made a mess out of it and then made it worse trying to fix it.   I like the sky and water though! 

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Polar Bear


It is funny how much the level of my interest in the subject matter compares with my eagerness to get to my painting table after a long hard day at work!

After spending over a week on the previous lesson from Colette Pitcher’s Watercolor Painting For Dummies, this little polar bear taking his ease on an icy slab took only two days because I couldn’t wait to get back to him after finishing up my after work chores.  There really isn’t much too him but it was so much fun to splatter paints in the sky and ice.  I really like how he turned out.

Only two more lessons left and then on to my next book – The Complete Watercolorist’s Essential Notebook by Gordon MacKenzie.

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