Chaffinches in watercolour

A pair of chaffinches were visiting our street this week so I decided to paint a picture of them.

Chaffinches are small birds with a lot of attitude and they’re really active when they’re looking for food. There are fallen leaves across from my window and local birds dig around them in search of insects or nest materials.

A pair of blackbirds arrived ahead of the chaffinches, digging with their feet and sometimes using their beaks to grab and fling debris to the side. I have a camera on my desk, so I was lining up to photograph the blackbirds when the chaffinches appeared. I wasn’t sure what they were initially so I took a few really blurry snaps to identify them and get some reference of their poses and markings for a painting.

I sketched thumbnails of different compositions and chose one that brought the pair close together. Creating washes for the background pavement I kept details to a minimum to focus attention on the two birds, adding in shading and some more texture once the rest of the painting had developed.

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