‘Mistletoebird and Alloxylon flammeum’ Bird Painting

‘Mistletoebird and Alloxylon flammeum’ Bird Painting – 15x15cms – Watercolour – SOLD

Between lulls in the midst of my current large project, I have taken the opportunity to return to my own work as Im able. Starting with a new small bird painting ‘Mistletoebird and Alloxylon flammeum’ (Tree Waratah). Although it may take a little extra time as my project ebbs and flows with the standard approvals process, it is nice to finally be able to add to one of my favourite small bird painting series, 15x15cm miniatures in watercolour once more.

With the new composition complete, the first step into the painting is to render the intricate drawing. Even though its early days, precision in every line and mark made matters. Here we have the drawing, capturing the stunning combination of the Mistletoebird and Alloxylon flammeum (Tree Waratah), one of my favourite subjects as you probably well know. What a beautiful combination this should be!

The reference for the Mistletoebird comes with great thanks to Peter Humphries, a wonderful photographer who allows me to reference his images for my bird painting projects. The botanical reference stems from a spectacular Tree Waratah located in the Sydney Botanic Gardens. Last I visited this tree was low slung and in its absolute prime and I wasted no time gathering this beautiful new reference to work from. Finally, today is the day… and we are underway with this sweet new bird painting.

With the drawing complete I have begun the incredibly complex task of capturing this tiny mistletoebird in watercolour, a riddle of colour, texture and subtleties to achieve. What a gorgeous palette it is though. Playing with the delicate balance of rich blues and deep greys, it reminds me often of the ‘Welcome Swallow and Blueberry Ash’ painting that precedes this one in the series. There are so many parallels, at least in the bird, only the mistletoebird has such a bold splash of red to come. I cant wait… For now im in the early stages, rendering the blue blacks of the head and wing, the completion of the tiny eye bringing life to this little bird beautifully.

A meticulous day in the studio brings a conclusion to my mistletoebird, slate, blue and scarlet red coming alive on the page. It is a certain kind of satisfaction you feel to see something emerge before your eyes like this. It feels good to be back to my watercolour palette and brushes after so long working on composition for my other project. Here we see the progress from the pencil drawing, the bird in a mid state to the final result. Now my focus shifts to the surrounds, more boldness and flame red in the Alloxylon flammeum.

A perspective on size, such a sweet little bird they are

The next step for this painting is the Tree Waratah background. Its vibrant, flame red flowers like a starburst of life and colour against its luxurious rich blue green leaves, the combination with the mistletoebird so beautifully aligned. Theres no avoiding the time it takes to create this exacting work, but its so wonderful to see it emerge before your eyes. The photos do it no justice, but the original work is full of life and subtlety that make this little study sing. Here we finally come to the end of the flowers for this piece leaving just the leaves to complete.

In this update we see the beginning of the leaves and background. This shift brings new colour and depth to this painting and the whole piece starts to come to life

Continuing on with the background, the long, slow, meticulous process continues. Its intensive work but so wonderful to watch it slowly emerge before your eyes. It urges you on, closer to the finish line with each stroke of the brush. The colours arent right in this image but i hope you enjoy the progress! One more day and I should complete this painting, shipping it off before long to its new home overseas.

And now we have the completed painting. Thank you all so much for following!