Learn How to Paint a Bird – and Help Someone Deserving

I am trying to help my friend, Kai, raise funds to come to the U.S. and study for her master’s in social work. As mentioned previously, she is a victim of human trafficking, who is dedicating her career to helping others break free of this vicious cycle.

Curious blue jay looking at ice on a stump

Birds of Michigan: Curious Jay (c)2014 11X14 oil painting

To help out, I am willing to offer 4 painting lessons (including critiques and suggestions on improvement) to those who would like to learn how to paint a bird of their choice – either your photo, or one of mine, to the first 11 people who read this post, and donate $20 or more to her campaign on indiegogo (click here to visit her page). I have to limit the number of people to 11, to give you the time and attention you would deserve.

If you do choose to do so, please contact me by email at inspiringwordswriting@gmail.com to let me know that you would like your lessons.

The lessons will include:

  • How to sketch a bird and rough out the background, including tips on good design
  • Blocking in your colors, with tips on the types and sizes of brushes to use, how to mix the colors, and how to get the values blocked in
  • Up to 3 critiques of your painting
  • How to get the “fine details” that will make your painting stand out.
  • Feather patterns and how to portray them
  • Color harmony
  • Using the background to make a better painting (some landscape painting tips)

I look forward to helping other artists with learning how to paint birds, one of my favorite subjects.

And to helping a friend who really deserves it.

Birds of Michigan: Great Blue Heron

I love the unique look, plumage and colors of the Great Blue Heron, one of the more elegant birds that can be seen along the waterways in Michigan. I placed this one in a setting near blue water, for color harmony.

Oil painting of a Great Blue Heron by Yeshua's Child Art, part of the Birds of Michigan series

“Great Blue Heron” oil, 11 X 14 on canvas board

Special thanks goes to Regina Brindle, a gifted bird photographer, for the photo reference, which was used with her permission.

Moose: Another Christmas Painting

In my last post, I mentioned that my other good friend wanted a painting of a moose. Why? Because her house is literally FILLED with moose things: moose towels, cups, figurines, coasters, etc., she is just nuts about them. So, when I gave her a gift certificate for a painting, she said, “A moose! That’s what I want!”  Okay, I have never painted a moose before. I have no photos that I have taken of a moose myself, because…I have yet to see one here in the woods where I live. So, I went back to WetCanvas, and found a great reference photo by StalkingtheDawn there, and used it, with a photo I have of the woods here as background.

Here’s how it looks:

Oil painting of a moose in the woods, based upon a reference photo by stalksthedawn on WetCanvas

Painting of a moose, oils, 16 X 20

So,  photo reference is stalkingthedawn on Wet Canvas (for the moose), and my own back yard (photo shown below) for the background. This is the nice part of living in the woods: lots of trees, etc.

photo of woods in Michigan

picture of the woods in my back yard

Okay, after this I will go back to painting from my own photos, or life (I’m actually painting a bouquet of flowers from life, when it’s more done I’ll share it here). Plus, my own bird and barn pics, from my own photos. But it was fun trying to figure out how to paint these beautiful animals.

Wild Loons (Christmas Present Painting)

For Christmas, I gave out two gift certificates good for a painting of their choice to two friends. One, who is a birdwatcher like me, immediately said, “I want a painting of Loons” (which show up on her lake, they visit every fall and spring here in Michigan). The other said, “A moose!” (I’ll show that one in a few days)

I didn’t have any loon photos that I or my roommate had taken, so I “cheated.” I went to a wonderful artist’s forum (wetcanvas.com), to their photo library, and found some good photos. So, unlike my normal paintings, the photo references was taken by another individual: Steve Mac, a gifted photographer. ; I put photos of two of his loons together into a painting.

"Wild Loons" is an oil painting of wild loons on a lake, based upon photos taken by Steve Mac, on the WetCanvas artist site.

“Wild Loons” oil painting, 16 X 20, photo reference credit Steve Mac.

Since this was a private Christmas present, and not for sale, I’m assuming that it was okay to use this photo, as long as I give photo credit for the reference photos that I used. I do hope my friend enjoys the painting! They are beautiful birds indeed; I love to hear their lonely calls in the early evenings.