Oh the Puffins!



Three Puffins


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Three Puffins. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”/16”x20” matted

A few years ago I sold a lovely painting of 5 puffins and, to be honest, I’ve never managed to quite capture again the looseness and lightness of touch with this subject. So today was the day to kill this once and for all.

For me this was quite a long painting. Even though the style is loose and sploshy it was very carefully planned and painted in several layers. I think I’m happy although I could possibly pushed it a little more to the sploshy side.

Here we go with the stages:


First stage after the drawing was to put light washes of color roughly where the darks and colors were going to go. I’m pushing through the edges as much as possible just being careful to keep away from areas of detail like the faces. Blossoms, drips and sploshes are welcomes at this stage. It will al add interest to the final painting.


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Next layer is to start just indicating some of the darks and bringing some of the edges in. Nothing too defined at this point so we can keep that lovely shimmering image.


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We’re sharpening up the image here. Going darker where it needs it on the black parts of the birds and being quite crisp on the face and beak.


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The final thing. I beefed up the background a little to bring out the whites of the birds but without making it a subject in itself. A few more darks on the black feathers, a little shading on the faces and we’re done!