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I was really eager to road test the 2 new Daniel Smith watercolour paints and the SAA watercolour brushes which I bought last week:


So I decided to paint a pheasant as they are everywhere around here at the moment. They have a propensity to look quite disinterested in their surroundings on the grass verges, but will wait until the last second then run across the road as vehicles approach, often changing direction part way through their road crossing; the Green Cross Code doesn’t rate highly on their list of things to remember! I wanted to catch the mad dash in the painting.

We have several that have taken up residence at the bottom of our garden. They seem to be the nocturnal variety and have taken to screaming at each other in the early hours. Let’s just say I’m not quite so fond of them as I was!

There was a cunning plan to my pheasant watercolour. I started it around 5.30 and figured that I could look busy for a few hours and thus avoid being the one to cook dinner. My plan went well initially, but I had to do the washing up… and there was an awful lot of it.

I decided to have a change of paper and opted for the rough texture this time – I wanted something informal and it worked quite well:


Once I’d got a general sketch in place I just went for it with the painting. I wanted to get the feeling of the pheasant rushing, so once the initial wash dried I kept everything quick, loose and wet, allowing the watercolours to blend by themselves. I steadied off towards the end when it came to adding a little detail to the pheasant’s head:

pheasant copyright

running pheasant

As you can see from the pheasant’s neck, the Daniel Smith French Ultramarine really does give a wonderful pop of colour and the Manganese Blue was used to provide the paler, more transparent contrast. The brushes worked really well too and the points on them stayed nice and sharp, so they were good for adding detail (oh and btw I’m not being sponsored for this post so my views on the above products aren’t for commercial gain).

I really do have to get myself painting in this quicker fashion more often; my propensity to faff about with detail isn’t always the best approach to take with watercolour. I need to trust the paints more and let them do half the work.

Until next time.