Watercolor bird painting on panel with watercolor ground

The next painting idea I had brewing for the panels was a teeny weeny kingfisher, The King of the River.

I used my White Nights watercolor pans for the painting. I used quite many colors on this one: Golden Deep, Cadmium Yellow, Quinacridone Rose Magenta, Ruby, Madder Lake, Bright Blue, Turquoise Blue, Indanthrene Blue and Payne’s Grey. I used the colors mostly as is, no blending in advance but I felt the layering of pigments, reworking the areas, mixing colors started to make the colors quite dull.

King of The River (2019) - watercolors on wooden panel
King of The River (2020) – painting on wooden panel primed with Daniel Smith watercolor ground (mixed media, watercolor and soft pastels). Wax finish. 40 x 40cm

In most of the bird’s body I used Turquoise Blue and the back with Bright Blue, but I felt the bird started to get quite de-saturated so I cleaned out the entire back, parts of the wings and repainted using Bright Blue in light layers with not much brushing. So now I got the back as bright as I originally wanted.

I tested the two colors (Turquoise Blue and Bright Blue) on random scrap paper, one slightly gradating wash and once dry I added an additional stronger pigment layer on top.

The color is not that different on paper vs. ground but the Turquoise just is less vibrant than I had thought of. Also the red background tones down the colors a bit more but I did not want to put the Daniel Smith Opera Pink to this one also (I fought against the idea). Both of the White Nights colors were fully transparent pigments.

So I ended up staring and reworking the bird painting quite a lot, more than the previous flower. Once I was satisfied, enough, I did the last details again with watercolor pencils (Albrecht Dürer) and called it done.

For the third painting I am first of all still lacking the idea, but also a bit disheartened and demotivated by the ground and getting eager to paint on paper for a change. I need to do a bit of pondering on the third one so I will likely paint something else meanwhile.

Some of the materials, wip and close shots:

I used masking fluid to cover the white areas in the bird and also created some of the spatters in the water with drops of fluid.

edit. Before varnishing the painting with fixative and wax I also used soft pastels and ink to tune some places (Varnishing trial).

Other posts on the panel with watercolor ground:


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