When you have so many reference photos from a trip, it's often hard to focus on what you want to paint from them all - but it was easy this time. I chose the magnolia photos Sweetie and I took. This one struck me because the background is so dark and the flower is so light - I hope I can capture that in watercolor.
So we begin with the background.
Wet-in-wet and lots of dark greens, a touch of deep dark quin gold and cerulean for the "sky holes" around.
Then I decided to darken the background in order to really make the "white" flower pop when I begin working on it.
A lot of Holbein Shadow Green and some Daniel Smith Pyrrol Green with some Dark Quinacridone Gold in the background, and re-emphasizing the cerulean blue skyholes.
This is on a full sheet (22 x 30 inches) Arches 140# coldpress.
And the other day I heard something hit the windows in the sunroom (it happens once in a while even though I have things hanging down from the windows inside to let the birds know it's a barrier. I walked out and saw nothing...until I looked down by the deck post and saw this. I had no idea what bird this was and had never seen anything like it here or anywhere else. So I sent the photo into Merlin Bird ID (an app from the Cornell Lab). You crop the photo, send it in and get an id. Anyone know what it is? (See below for answer!)
He/she was about the size of a bluejay, lean looking and that beak (?) curving with grey on top and yellow on bottom with big black eyes. It was stunned enough to let me get close enough to take a quick shot but when I squatted down to open the door, he/she flew off and I swear I saw a bit of ruddy red somewhere underneath that grey and white (but I could be wrong about that).
Turns out I was right about the ruddy red flash I saw - it's a Yellow-Billed Cuckoo and has a rufuous color underneath. First time I've ever seen this bird anywhere. I was so lucky to see it on our deck (and it was so lucky not to be injured but just stunned).