Even though I have painted a lot of birds I struggle with their feet. I'd warmed up the brushes early this morning and it felt like a good time to have a practice session. The problem as always is that I tend not to 'see' the feet properly and so they come out like symbols rather than shapes and values. Often the rest of the bird looks good but then the feet look stuck on and out of place.
This was the final and most successful of the test pieces. I'd managed to get the lights placed well to indicate the curve of the talons and also judged the values correctly so they look like they're actually grasping something. Well worth doing.
Here's the first practice sheet with varying degrees of success. Surprisingly enjoyable.