Michele Clamp Art

Paint Colorful Birds for Fun

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

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Rose-breasted grosbeak. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 14”x11”

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
250.00

14”x11”/20”x16” with mat.

Always love the color combination in these birds. A mixture of bold and subtle contrasts.

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Haven’t done a bird in a while and fancied something with some strong contrasts. This one never disappoints.

Some intermediates

The drawing. For once I carefully measured the length of the bird with respect to the body - 5 bird heads high.

The initial washes. Very light and I make sure I splosh through the edges to give a fuzzy underpainting. I only take care to avoid the eye area where I want to keep the white paper.

The next layer of the bird. A lot of this will be the final layer apart from the finishing darks. It often looks a bit meh at this stage.

Almost there. The feet and the branch are in and I’ve darkened up the head and put detail in the eye.

Done. A little light shading around the shoulders to bring out the white and a little touch of white gouache in the eye to bring back the sparkle.

Inca Tern

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Inca Tern. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Feels a bit strange going back to the birds. I’ve been doing so many tightly composed city and landscape scenes that a single bird on the page feels like something is missing. That’s not to say that it’s easier though. Getting the pose right and tying the body to the plain(ish) background still take quite a bit of thought.

He came out rather handsomely though I think.

Edit: Forgot an intermediate photo.

This was after the drawing and the first wash being careful to brush through the outlines to create some fuzziness in the edges and to tie the bird to the white background.

Chinese Golden Pheasant

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Chinese golden pheasant. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Why not do a bird I thought. It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a bird and they’re so much easier than complicated city scenes. Well I was wrong on the last part. This gave me all sorts of trouble but a lot of it came together at the end.

Robin

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Robin. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 14”x11”

After the stress of completing and submitting a show piece with only hours to go I relaxed with a robin. Actually it was quite stressful. Birds like robins with oval bodies and stumpy beaks can be tricky to paint with character. Half way through it was almost a bust but managed to salvage something in the end.

Gang-Gang Cockatoo

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Gang-Gang Cockatoo. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 10”x8”.

I really wasn’t sure how this was going to come out. Bushy feathers like this are very easy to overwork but I ended up with a good balance of loose brushwork and detail. Not bad.


Ostrich

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Ostrich. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 14”x11”

I’m trying to keep up with the facebook page Paint Colorful Birds for Fun and this week (week 5) is the ostrich. I tried to keep some life in the darks but keep the white feathers distinct and fluffy. I think it’s pretty much there.

Avocet

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Avocet. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 14”x11”.

Avocet
250.00

14”x11”/20”x16” matted.

A very muted piece but has a lot of presence.

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Sometimes things just work. I wanted the colors to be muted on this one so the stance of the bird, its markings and reflections stood out. And it all came together. Happy camper.

Kingfisher

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Just fancied painting a kingfisher. Tried to get him nice and sploshy.


Bird Day - Quetzal

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Quetzal watercolor. Michele Clamp. Photo reference from https://www.flickr.com/people/31267353@N03/

Bird day today. Need a rest from the cityscapes. Quite a successful quetzal although this was the second go.

First go which wasn’t very satisfying :

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