Birds of Michigan: Baltimore Oriole

I let the oriole sit for a day, then added some cherry blossoms to the background (I felt that the bare branches were too stark looking). 

Below is the finished painting (there’s a bit of glare, but it shows up okay). I did some more detail and highlights on the oriole as well, to finish him.  Oreo the Oriole was fun to paint!

Colors used: cadmium yellow light, cadmium yellow medium, alizarin crimson, cadmium red medium, cadmium red light, burnt sienna, titanium white, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, sap green

blatimore oriole oil painting by yeshuas child art

Baltimore oriole (oil 8 X 11 canvas board)


How to Paint a Bird (Part 4)

Okay, the next day, I can start adding details: the fine lines, shadows, and richer overlays of color that help make the painting look more real. I also start refining the tree and the background, adding colors and changing things a bit. 

Now, I let it sit for another day to dry, while I decide whether to add blossoms to the twigs…but at this point, the painting is really starting to take shape.  I’ll try to show the final painting in the next few days. 


How to Paint a Bird (part two): Baltimore Oriole

Next, I create the background. I like to blend colors that are complementary to the main bird; for the oranges and reds and yellows of the oriole, I chose greens, blues and some soft gays. 

I will go back later and refine it, but the background sets the tone for the painting. 

background for oriole painting

background for oriole painting

How to Paint a Bird: Baltimore Oriole

In the next few posts, I will be sharing how I create a bird painting. I love painting birds, in part because since I was very young growing up on a farm, I constantly watched birds. I even checked out a bird book from the library, and learned to identify all of the local birds on the East Coast where I grew up. 

When I moved to Michigan this past winter, I discovered that it is a bird watcher’s paradise. Which has led, naturally, to painting the beautiful birds here. 

First, I like to observe the birds in nature as much as possible. I also use a good photo reference, which I either take myself, or a good friend has taken and given full use rights to. This is important, because for a painting to be truly original, it cannot be taken from someone else’s source without legal written permission to do so. 

I then create a quick sketch, usually in ultramarine blue, on the canvas. 

Below is the sketch for my painting of an oriole.

sketch for oriole painting

sketch for oriole painting