Health & Art · Materials · Technique · Watercolor

Cardinal’s Nest


I ordered some new watercolor supplies.

I got a few Daniel Smith watercolors, a sampler set of 5×7 Crescent watercolor boards, and a set of Rhapsody Kolinsky Sable brushes.

Despite the neck healing issues. It is quite the challenge to look down on a palette, but I could not resist the urge to try a little 5×7″ painting. My right arm was kind of achy this morning and I think I need to start doing gentle repetitional weight lifting with a one pound weight as inactivity has severely reduced my muscles. I still cannot life more than five pounds at a time. But I think little weights won’t hurt.

This one is on 115 Hot Press Watercolor Board Extra Heavy weight which is somewhat smoother than the cold press I have used previously. The instructions (which of course I did not read before taking on this painting), recommend using wax or a crayon to seal the edges all the way around before beginning. And even though the paper remained well attached to the board (which is like very heavy matt board or backing board), the board itself warped a little along the long side. It is also easily bent back to flat with light pressure between my hands. I will seal the other samples that came in the pack.

I liked working on this surface for this painting. The smoothness made it easy to get in the negative painting and it took multiple layers of light wash. I did not wet the entire thing at once or even overly large portions at once. But for this little painting, it did well.

LOVE the new brushes. These are small, from size 0 to 8 and for this I used a 10 that I already had and the size 2 from the new set. If these continue to hold up okay, I’ll probably go ahead and invest in some of the larger ones soon.

I used a toothpick to put in most of the masking fluid and that seemed to work pretty well for all those little straight sticks.

As for the nest itself, this one was found about midway down one of our walking paths to the dock below our house. I know it was a cardinal’s nest because I accidently spooked her out of it one day, then crept up and took a peek inside. I took a couple of quick photos with my phone and a couple of days later came back with my camera. There were still only two eggs. After that we just left it alone. Last week, several weeks later, we took a walk down this path again and found the nest to be empty. I hope she was successful in raising her babies and avoided issues with the variety of predators we have around here.

In this series of nest paintings, I want to try most, if not all, of my reference photos in different medium and sizes. Sometimes the medium does make a big difference in how a painting presents. All might be great, but they will all be different. The trick will be finding ways not to get bored and making sure my “style” comes through regardless of what medium is used. So look for this one again in oil, in pastel and maybe as a drawing or mixed media.


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