Watercolour Bird Study – Splendid Fairywren and Grevillea insignis

Watercolour Bird Study – ‘Splendid Fairywren and Grevillea insignis’ – 16x16cms – SOLD

Splendid Fairywren and Grevillea insignis is a small watercolour bird painting exploring two insanely beautiful Australian plant and bird subjects from Western Australia. Peter Caddy offered me the gorgeous Splendid Wren reference to work from as it is a subject well out of my area but such a wonderful subject to explore, so I am really excited to be exploring this little guy more thoroughly.

Over the past few months Ive completed a series of 15x15cm miniatures with backgrounds as you know. During this time weve had a number of discussions on producing a small collection of watercolour bird studies without backgrounds so this series, i hope it will be a series in time in any case, is following this direction for a little change of pace.

The colours of the Splendid Wren are so outrageously spectacular its hard to process, let alone paint! With the drawing done I spent some time weeding through my various tubes of blue pigments to see if I even had what it takes for this vast array. Cobalt, french ultramarine, turquoise, cerulean, combinations of all and everything was my plan and with a wetting up of my neglected palette in recent weeks on the road I held my rusty brush in my hand and jumped in to this new challenge.

heidi willis_blue wren_painting_watercolour bird artist

Starting with the tiny intricate eye I started to capture his personality and life with each minute stroke before building each area of blue around the eye to create his stunning head features… and just like that he came to life on the page. I love witnessing that evolve! Moving on to the body is no easier, slowly developing the features, richness and textures of the back, belly and wing feathers with a tiny brush to reflect his strength, softness and features. Finally I added the beautiful blue tail feathers with long steady sweeping brushstrokes from top the tail and the delicate matchstick legs complete with tiny claws that already begin to clutch the grevillea surrounds.

With the Splendid Wren complete I am set to start on the fiddly flowers of the Grevillea tomorrow. Back to the studio I have certainly gone, but its good to be home and getting in the flow of things again too 🙂

heidi willis_bird painting_splendid wren_watercolour_artist_illustration

Fresh on my studio table is the addition of the grevillea flowers to my little splendid fairywren giving him some delicate native surrounds to his world. I love the contrasting palette with little licks of pink and blue crossing over from flowers to the bird as nature does so very well. Grevillea is never easy to tackle as a subject but it is certainly a beautiful one and excellent practice for a steady hand. With the pink flowers complete I will move on to the greenery tomorrow to finish this sweet little study.

heidi willis_artist_splendid wren painting_bird illustration_watercolour

Todays studio sitting saw the rendering of the grevillea foliage and branches, soft greens and blues, licks of ginger to the spines of each leaf completing this element, and this sweet splendid wren study. You can see this piece coming together over on my YouTube channel, so go on and enjoy a new perspective of my work over there if you have a few minutes. This painting is now sold, thank you 🙂

Thanks for following

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