Painting Feathers on a Cormorant

Painting feathers on a cormorant with a liner brush.
Painting feathers on a cormorant with a liner brush. (Close up)

I am beginning to paint some highlights and shadows on the feathers of the first cormorant. Again I am using Winsor & Newton gouache paint with liner brush. For the highlights, I use Yellow Cadmium Pale mixed with Permanent White to make a highlight colors for the feathers in sunlight. Some of the darker highlight colors will have Jet Black and less Permanent White. For the shadow, I took Pthalo Blue, Cyan Blue, Jet Black and Permanent White to make a variety of shades for the feathers in shadow.

For the brushes, I used several liner brushes that ranged in sizes from 0, 1 or 2.

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Painting a tree and grass on my cormorant painting

Painting a tree and grass on my cormorant painting – I added a tree and some grass to my gouache cormorant painting. Using warm yellows for sunlight and cool blues and black for the shadows, I tried to give the appearance of trees and grass in the early morning sunlight. The sun is rising on the right side of the painting therefore the light is on the right side of the trees and grass and the shadows (blues) are on the left. When I paint the grass I use a dark gray or black base coat. From there I add a green with very little white or yellow mixed with it. The green goes on top of the gray/black base coat. Then I add the highlights which is a pale yellow with Permanent White mixed with it. Please watch the video to see how I paint grass using a liner brush with the colors mentioned.

Painting a tree and grass

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Painting Grass on the Golden Eagle Gouache Painting

Painting Grass on the Golden Eagle in Kodar Mountains Artwork - Using a Windsor & Newton 540 Series #1 Liner I add highlights to the grass.
Painting Grass on the Golden Eagle in Kodar Mountains Artwork – Using a Windsor & Newton 540 Series #1 Liner I add highlights to the grass.

Painting Grass on the Golden Eagle in Kodar Mountains Artwork – This post explains how I painted the grass in the shadow and the grass in the sunlight using gouache paint that is waterdown and a thin liner brush.

All paints used are gouache. I began by painting a base coat of black. Specifically, I used Jet Black from Windsor & Newton. Jet Black is generally the most opaque and cooler of Windsor ∓ Newton blacks. Ivory Black is not as opaque and warmer in color than Jet Black. For the base (darkest) grass color I mixed Permanent Green Deep, Jet Black, Permanent White and Pthalo Blue. Because I’m painting blades of grass with a liner brush (Windsor & Newton Regency Gold 540 Series #1), I water the gouache paint more than usual. This allows for thinner paint strokes which is what you need when painting thousands of blades of grass.

Painting Grass in Gouache

Finally, I add the highlights to the grass. These are the tips of the blades of grass that the sun hits first during sunrise, or last if it’s a sunset you’re painting. For the color of the highlights, I mix Cadmium Yellow Pale with Permanent White. If I want to give the impression of an early sunrise or late sunset, I’ll add orange or a red to the highlight color. Oranges and reds or more prevalent before sunrise or just after sunset.

Painting Grass on the Golden Eagle in Kodar Mountains Artwork -Here is a close up of the completed highlights to the grass.
Painting Grass on the Golden Eagle in Kodar Mountains Artwork -Here is a close up of the completed highlights to the grass.
Painting Grass on the Golden Eagle in Kodar Mountains Artwork - Using a Windsor & Newton 540 Series #1 Liner I add highlights to the grass.
Painting Grass on the Golden Eagle in Kodar Mountains Artwork – Using a Windsor & Newton 540 Series #1 Liner I add highlights to the grass.
Painting Grass on the Golden Eagle in Kodar Mountains Artwork - You can see a fifty fifty mix of the grass with and without the highlights.
Painting Grass on the Golden Eagle in Kodar Mountains Artwork – You can see a fifty fifty mix of the grass with and without the highlights.
Painting Grass on the Golden Eagle in Kodar Mountains Artwork - Less of a close up.
Painting Grass on the Golden Eagle in Kodar Mountains Artwork – Less of a close up.
Painting Grass on the Golden Eagle in Kodar Mountains Artwork- As it looks within the entire painting.
Painting Grass on the Golden Eagle in Kodar Mountains Artwork- As it looks within the entire painting.

Consider these posts on how I painted the feathers or painted the talons on the Golden Eagle.

Painting Feathers and Grass on a Painting of a Curlew

Painting Feathers and Grass on a Painting of a Curlew – This is part 3 of a continuing series documenting the development of my gouache painting of a landscape in Siberia. In the last post I made improvements to the fir trees on the mountains. In this post I make improvements to the blades of grass in the foreground, background and middle distance.

Robert Simmons White Sable Brushes

Painting Feathers and Grass on a Painting of a Curlew - Two of my most cherished liner brushes, the Windsor & Newton Regency Gold 540 Series #1 and #2 brushes.
Painting Feathers and Grass on a Painting of a Curlew – Two of my most cherished liner brushes, the Windsor & Newton Regency Gold 540 Series #1 and #2 brushes.

Also, each curlew has been finished as well as their reflections in the water. When painting the birds, I used a series of short handle, white sable, Robert Simmons brushes then finish with a pair of Windsor & Newton Regency Gold brushes. For the initial outline, I used the short handle, white sable Robert Simmons #2, round. I then fill in the block color with the short handle, white sable Robert Simmons 1/2 oval wash. For I gradate the highlight color with a short handle, white sable Robert Simmons #3 round.

Windsor & Newton Regency Gold Liners

After that, I paint the feathers, eyes and beak using two Windsor & Newton Regency Gold brushes, a #1 540 round and a #2 520 round. The #1 540 is used only for the finest detail. I find that for painting fine details, the Windsor & Newton Regency Gold #1 540 and #2 520 are outstanding brushes. They use a gold taklon sable and have nickel plated ferrules. They are outstanding brushes if you draw with your brush. I used them 20 years ago when I was painting only with acrylic. I’ve since switched to gouache but I still use them because they are great for artists who like to draw with a brush. I mention this because major art retailers do not carry the Windsor & Newton Regency Gold series brushes. Not really sure why. You can buy them on Amazon no problem. Anyone interested in Pen & Ink can check out my ink drawing blog.

Painting Feathers and Grass on a Painting of a Curlew - Overall view of the painting with the recently completed feathers and grass.
Painting Feathers and Grass on a Painting of a Curlew – Overall view of the painting with the recently completed feathers and grass.
Painting Feathers and Grass on a Painting of a Curlew - A view of the finished feathers on the two curlews wading in the stream.
Painting Feathers and Grass on a Painting of a Curlew – A view of the finished feathers on the two curlews wading in the stream.