A sparrow’s tale

Work in progress #1 – the underpainting

Work in progress #1 – the underpainting

These photos show the progress of Sparrow (Monday’s In the style of…) painting. I started with an underpainting of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber ― I’ve fallen in love with these two colours because they blend together to make the most beautiful black (see the note below about chromatic blacks).

Work in progress #2 – painting the background and the body

Work in progress #2 – painting the background and the body

Work in progress #3 – filling in details

Work in progress #3 – filling in details

Work in progress #4 – adding black and white

Work in progress #4 – adding black and white

I’m a big fan of chromatic blacks (made using colour rather than a specific black pigment). It’s so satisfying to mix your own ‘black’ and achieve subtle variations of colour — it’s much more fun than simply reaching for a tube of Ivory Black (although I do that too). I’ve used both kinds of black in my little sparrow painting.

Work in progress #5 – no no no no no

Work in progress #5 – no no no no no

I got a bit carried away adding white to his feathers and ended up with a colour I didn’t like ― a sort of pale grey-brown ― so I waited for the unfortunate, dreary colour to dry and painted a more cheerful pinky-brown over it (see below).

Sparrow – acrylic on canvas, 200 x 255 mm, 2013

Sparrow – acrylic on canvas, 200 x 255 mm, 2013

I also made him a little bit fatter and a whole lot fluffier. And I still really like that strand of spider silk in the corner.

Thanks for reading.

6 thoughts on “A sparrow’s tale

  1. poppytump

    Like the idea of chromatic black mixing. The spider web strand IS perfect there with the light on it Anna .
    One proper cheeky sparrow !

    Reply
  2. camilla wells paynter

    Thanks for sharing your process, Anna! I usually “cheat” by starting with a premixed black and adding color to it. Probably doesn’t achieve the same effect, though, and I’m sure it’s not as satisfying! 🙂 I love the milky, stained-glass look of your background. It is cool to see that take shape in the photographs!

    Reply

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