The Eurasian Nuthatch, looking very similar to the European one, is the latest subject on the Facebook `Painting Colorful Birds for Fun'. I have had two shots at it for which see below.
Waterford 11" x 15" High White 140lb (300gsm) Not
111/2"x 16 L Amatruda Amalfi Hand-Made 90lb (?)
The first painting is based on the guide photograph on the `Colorful Birds' page. The second I downloaded from Google images. In the first one I had problems with the blue - Rowney Cerulean - which the paper didn't seem to take terribly well. When Waterford `High White' came out I purchased some from Bromley and tried it along with Yvonne and Jan from the AVA group. Yvonne didn't like it at all and neither did Jan. My own impression was far from enthusiastic as it didn't seem to take the paint as well as expected. Subsequently I used it on a couple of portraits seemingly without problems. This version of Waterford was eagerly expected because the original is rather off white - a yellowish shade - and has been described as creating a slightly `antique' look. Since then a number of professional artists like Ann Blockley have come out in praise of it. I've been using up odd bits of paper for the bird paintings and came across a remaining sheet of `High White'. The main colours in the first painting were Cerulean and Translucent Orange (Schminke PO71). It may be the Rowney Cerulean is at fault, although I'd no complaints when painting with it prior to this one. This is a paint/pigment ( PB35) that varies considerably amongst manufacturers. I'd previously used the Winsor & Newton version.
The second painting was produced because I wasn't happy with the first. Apart from the streaky Cerulean it seemed to me to be on the bland side. You have only to look at Gerard Hendriks exciting paintings to understand the meaning of this. The black is Ivory Black from Maimeri with some Turquoise (Lukas PB16) added. This colour and Cerulean feature on the head and back with Quinacridone Gold (PO49), Quinacridone Rust (PO48), Ultramarine Violet (PV15) and some Raw Sienna on the breast and feathers. The tree he is perched on includes darks made from Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber with some Ivory Black. There is some Raw Umber and Quinacridone Gold, Ultramarine Violet and the pinkish red is Quinacridone Coral (DS PR209). I tried to give the impression that the bird and tree trunk were interconnected using the darks. My initial approach was to paint the eye, beak and black areas very carefully as they are the focal point of the whole thing. Before painting I used Pebeo drawing gum, applied with a ruling pen, to carefully mask the very thin lines around the eyes.
In both instances I first made a careful but not over detailed pencil drawing using an 05 Pentel mechanical pencil with a 2B lead. The paper in the lower painting is some I bought from a small shop in Amalfi, Italy when on holiday a while ago. I discovered a small shop selling paper and these were the largest sheets. I asked the lady - who turned out to be the owner - where the paper was made and she waved her hand and said `at my factory over there'. I'd love to get some more as, although very light, it is a beautiful paper to work on. It wouldn't do for large washes.