Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 22 March 2015





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The art of painting birds

The simplest animals to draw and paint are birds. This is due to their rounded and tapering shape and absence of a complicated structure. To paint birds it is not necessary to go too far, you can find them at your home garden, in magazines photographs or any pet shop or in the zoo.

The aid of a photograph, is one of the most widely used in painting. Painting birds sometimes calls upon the technical skill of the artist. In the first place great attention must be paid to the initial sketch of the anatomy of the bird. The drawing is straight forward and it is based on two correctly placed curves. colour light and shadow.

Before starting to paint if you do close study at the figure, you can see that the head is an almost perfect circle. Once the initial sketch is done, finish off the lines that define the anatomy of the bird. At the first stage the principal colour is used in a transparent tone which permits each one of the light or shadow zones to be placed.

This is where the drawing becomes essential, not having done it would make it impossible to establish the white reserves.

The dark shadow tones are painted on the top of the most luminous colours. The brush strokes on the head and wings are done on the dry background. Only when all the shadow on the body have been done on the contrasts that finish the painting be applied. The shadows are defined by intensifying the tones used.

While the colour is first applied it has to be kept dry. The wet parts of the paper must not be touched otherwise the colours will get mixed up. Before starting to paint feathers avoid the dark colours of the just painted tones blending, it is necessary to let them dry. Pay special attention to the head.

A very transparent layer is applied which support the highlight, while this area is still damp small shadows are added to the base of the neck. This colour is pat on with the tip of the brush and blends into the limits of the just painted wash.

The tail is painted in one stroke, it is make more transparent. Birds can be easily painted in wet-in-wet technique if they have a soft fur. When the drawing sheet is dry accents on lines can be added. Stuffed birds can come under an articulate brush with wash and ink technique. Get animal shapes from books photographs, or from the museum.

It is easy to draw and paint birds as they don't move around. Use the best opportunity as the idea for your painting is to turn out the best art work.

When painting birds they can be set in their habitat or put against a simple background in form of movement. They can be done realistically or done from nature, or photographs.

Make quick sketches first to determine the characteristic shapes of the bird you are going to paint how its legs bend, how long they are, how its head and neck work, how big the head is in relation to the body and the beak.

Think back on other paintings of birds to determine what technique might be best used for feathers, fur, claws or hair. Experiment with different approaches.

Work from generalisations to specific detail, putting big shapes down first, then adding selected detail or patterns. Keep the smallest brush until the very end, and then use it sparingly. Painting tails of the birds are done with one brushstroke, thereafter necessary contrasts are added.

Natural texture

Once the initial paint on the bird is applied before it dries a light wash is added to give the natural texture. Nature's snug presence is felt at every corner, the green lawns, the shady walkways, the cosy cottages, all make for a beautiful leisure trip leading to the National parks at Kumana and Yala as prominent bird sanctuaries of Sri Lanka.

Various colourful birds live in these parks, the peacock, Cuckoo, kingfisher, parrot, sparrow, Mynah and crow to name few. Driving through the jungle it was very quiet except for the sounds of the birds and insects, and leading to the National Park, truly blonged to the animals and birds that resided there as they were very good in hiding from the human eye. By the time the seen had gone down birds flew above the sky it was a gorgeous union of colours. The illustration here shows the various birds that live in Sri Lanka.


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