Saturday, May 27, 2017


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).


Barbra Joan said...

Oh Rhonda, what a pretty bird and different that's for sure. Good that it stayed long enough for you to get a photo.. It was sitting there getting it's bearings, so glad it was alright.

Sharon Whitley said...

That's a big painting - I find it hard sometimes to decide what to paint from lots of photos but sometimes one just leaps out at you like it did with your magnolia - great sighting of the cuckoo, glad it wasn't hurt!

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

that background is looking great :D

i always have a problem picking photos after taking so many. I try to narrow it down to a few and then close my eyes and pick one. and hope i pick the one I really want to work on lol

glad the bird wasnt hurt too much. I always cringe when I heard that thud on the big window :/

Debbie Nolan said...

Rhonda - your painting is looking good. That dark background certainly is going to make that flower pop. As for your bird...I have never seen one of these either. What an interesting bird. So glad he wasn't hurt either. Have a super week. Hugs!

RH Carpenter said...

Barbra Joan, I'm glad it was just stunned for a while and I could identify it with the help of the Merlin Bird ID app.

I just pulled out a full sheet and began, Sharon, didn't think until later that, hey, I usually paint on half sheets and this is big! ha ha

Jennifer Rose, glad the little bird was okay and able to fly away - may not ever see one again in this area but who knows with changes in weather patterns and global warming, we may get birds we've never seen before coming through. We are having cicadas now and have lost our red-bellied woodpeckers at the suet feeder = none; I think they are gorging on the cicadas and don't need the suet (I hope that's the reason because I can hear them out in the woods)

Thanks, Debbie. Right now a different kind of painting is going on = trying to get the deck painted in between rain showers!! My body is aching from the hours bent and twisting and climbing ladders and painting painting painting - but it will look great when finished. Only about 1/4 done so far and we had a thunderstorm last night (that was NOT supposed to happen - I have given up on the weathermen/women predicting anything).

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

if you can still hear the woodpeckers, def still around and will prob return one the feast is no more, probably sick to death of cicadas (dont miss them at all lol)

RH Carpenter said...

Yes, I even heard one really loudly today while painting on the deck - perhaps they are getting tired of cicadas and want to know why we don't have the suet feeder out right now?!? ha ha The hummingbird is curious, too, coming around the feeder (over the painted part of the deck now) and checking out why I'm on the ladder and what I'm doing half in and half out of the trees (branches hanging down around me as I paint the outside parts of the deck).