I notice that the background is needing a more definite presence or I will stand the chance of really screwing up, so I begin darkening the branches, giving them their shadows and highlights.
Here is a closeup showing branch darkening.
Next, I notice it is mainly the path of the vines that needs to be done. Reserving where I am wanting to put things as I progress with the details. It is kind of like I need to build my structure where the rest of the characters will reside. Constructing the image site.
Here is the seventh Hummingbird located in the upper right corner.
You can see that my background remains just sketched in light.
After I add the colors for the next two hummers I have one left to colorize. Do you see him?
Now the center flying hummingbirds come into color. First there is the red necked hummer, with a white chest and green wings.
Then we have a violet and blue gorgeous hovering wonder above him. And we are up to four out of seven hummingbirds done except for final details. I can almost hear the “Star Wars” sound that they make, I swear that Lucas got that sound for when they are riding the jet motorcycles through the redwood forest on that planet from the Hummingbird whirring.
Finishing up the green guy perched on the branch lets me prepare to get ready for the flying guy above him. I also am finishing leaves and the vine highlights and shadows as I work on the birds. It is all a real gradual process for me. The images show before and the after.
After…. The guy perched on the branch (lower right) gets his green.
This second hummingbird perched on the branch in the lower right section is one I am wanting to have kind of blend in. So there is something to discover in the painting. His coloring is going to be in greens so that he blends in with his surroundings enough to allow this. I begin with the bright yellow green flecks on his chest and outlining his body shape. It is where I see the light hitting his feathers creating that iridescent gleam.Then I begin to decide on color scheme for the two centered figure above the two perched birds.
Our first hummingbird along with his honeysuckle blossom is rendered and it feels as though our painting is actually coming to life.
I had not been sure that orange blossoms would not take away from the right colors in the hummingbirds. It was a scary thought. So, in all honesty, this first one was an experiment. I think we will be safe with the color scheme with the way this first one shows. Yay!
You will notice that we are also able to make the sunrise in the background come to life. I carefully wet the area staying just a tad away from the main characters using a light mix of Cadmium Yellow Light, and then fill my brush with bright drops of New Gambouge, and Cadmium Yellow Dark. Just dripping in the color and letting it do it’s own magic as it mixes.
Since the layout is now pretty much completed. I know where I want to put all seven of the hummingbirds. The tree branches are wrapped with honeysuckle vine and loaded with blossoms for the birds.
Now I can carefully lay in a yellow background. The reason for this unusually bright background is that I am wanting to create a sunrise through the trees.
Now the color begins!
I start to carefully add light washes as I grow the vines around the tree. My job is to layout where the vine and blossoms will grow around the branches fitting around the hummingbirds without distracting from them. There needs to be plenty of the birght orange and red honeysuckle blossoms for the birds to be getting their nectar from. I know it is hard to see from this faraway shot so I am adding close ups to help with seeing the details.
Lower section. putting the vines with it’s blossoms, all the leaves, helps me to see the hummingbird action better.
Middle section. The birds are able to be more formally rendered in the sketches as I get the foliage going. It is all a flexible and creative journey.
Top section, I love the freedom of growing my vine as I go. this drives some artists crazy but I love it.
The first of a series of progressive images taken as I paint a large water color with seven hummingbirds, honeysuckle vine and a tree branch.
Beginning with sketching in the main characters and general layout. I am lightly using pencil on a 22″ x 30″ sheet of Arches watercolor paper (300lb). It is important to not go heavy with your pencil because you want to be able to erase any lines later. Some artist’s don’t erase any lines but I typically do erase any that I notice.