View Full Version : Small 20x20cm paintings serie birds

02-25-2012, 02:03 AM
I am for the moment doing a small series of small 20x20cm paintings of different birds. They all have the same background in common when I start: I have covered them in book pages.
In the first one that I have finished, I have not painted any background, but left the book pages as is. I am a little afraid that this will cause the background to yellowing over time, though. It is 'SHY', a small european robin painted in oil.
Anyway, what do you think of this approach?


I have a Bullfinch and a Long tailed-tit on the easel, so I will post them as soon as they are finished.

C&C welcome :wave:

02-25-2012, 08:39 AM
I like the background but think it would be better if it were not pieced together. It's a little distracting as it is now.

02-25-2012, 08:51 AM
It turned out beautifully!! Really love the little bird.

But I'm a bit afraid for the longevity of the piece - the pages will of course yellow over time, but more immediately, won't the oil "eat through" the paper?

Eh - if the original doesn't last, you can always sell a beautiful series of bird prints! :)

02-25-2012, 09:16 AM
I think it's a great idea (:

02-26-2012, 08:33 PM
Thank you all so much for looking and commenting!

Bonnie:The book pages that I used are smaller than the canvas, so there will always be overlapping edges when I cover the canvas this way. But you are right, one of the edges do spring out much more than the others, and that is because one of the pages had a chinese drawing on it that I first wanted to use as a part of the painting, but when I started painting the bird it was too distracting, so I glued over it with more pages. I have to see if I in the future can minimize the edges so that they are less visible! Thank you!

Nadya: Thank you! I was for once quite pleased with how the bird turned out... And yes, I am afraid that if the painting will get a lot of sunlight, it will yellow.I must see that when the oil is throughout dry if I can varnish it in any way to make it more durable. Otherwise I will just do as you said and just sell prints of it... :-) I glued the book pages to the canvas with acrylic medium, and put quite a thick layer of the medium on top of the pages to seal the paper of, so I hope that it was a good enough base for the oil paint. But only time can tell I suppose...

Karen: Thank you!!

02-29-2012, 01:30 PM
Your little bird painting has stuck in mind, coming back to take another peek. Wonder what a tiger would look like with asian script (large) behind him because of your idea. Hmmmmm.... food for thought

chammi kaiser
03-01-2012, 09:26 AM
I think it is a great idea for a background and your little Robin is beautiful. I do agree that the overlap is a little distracting. Perhaps copying the print onto a larger piece of paper which fits the support might be a better idea.

03-06-2012, 10:19 PM
Karen: your idea sounds great! I can already see the bright splashes of yellow and orange against the black and white background...

Thank you Chammi! you are right about that using a larger piece of paper would be a solution, my only problem is that I am stubborn in the sense that I want to use real book pages. I love the idea of it being pages from a real book, and the paper is different from any copy paper I have. Maybe I just have to find a bigger book o take pages from... :)

03-07-2012, 12:03 AM
You're little Robin is very well don! And I love your use of the bookpages as Bg. Great idea, but would agree with longevity may be a concern. Prints sounds like a viable solution.

03-08-2012, 11:46 AM
Love the Robin, and I like the bg very much:clap::clap:Nicki

03-14-2012, 08:53 PM
Thank you Barb and Nicki!

I have been working on 3 other 20x20cm bird paintings these last few days, and it is painstakingly slow going for me now for some reason. It is another robin, a long tailed tit, and a bullfinch. The bullfinch was painted just like the robin above directly on the book pages, but that one did not turn out as I wanted so I deleted the bird yesterday and began anew. Hopefully I will get one finished this week so that I can post it for feedback.
Thank you for looking!

03-14-2012, 08:56 PM
I think it is very cool...:)

03-15-2012, 07:47 AM
LOVE it. What a clever idea!

03-15-2012, 08:45 AM

03-15-2012, 04:07 PM
What a cute little guy.

03-18-2012, 05:45 PM
So sweet! I can't wait to see the rest of your bird paintings. The robin and long-tailed tit are my two favourite birds. :)

03-22-2012, 11:50 AM
evartpat, FaeLynn, maryinasia, artask and Sarah: Thank you so much for your encouraging comments!!

Well, I did not finish a painting last week as I thought I would. I will post here now the bullfinch I painted over and will start on again, and the nearly finished long tail tit.


The bird itself was coming along just fine I think, but then I decided that the background left like this did not work as I wanted, and I had gotten smudge marks on it, and the book pages were not as even as I would have wanted. So, I erased the bird and twigs, and gave it a layer of modeling paste. Now I will give it a few washes of acrylics before I start on the bird again.

The long tail tit:

There is some tweaking left to do, the feathers needs a final layer, and I think that I have to broaden the twig it is sitting on, and then paint the claws. The background here is a collage of book pages and song texts.

C&C are more than welcome, it is a work in progress now!

03-22-2012, 12:56 PM
Beautiful work. I absolutely love the backgrounds on all of these! I especially like the contrast between the white bird and the deep red in your latest piece.:clap:

03-22-2012, 01:45 PM
Great idea with the background! The robin is wonderfully painted.

03-22-2012, 03:36 PM
Lovely little bird paintings!

03-22-2012, 10:10 PM
Thank you Paige, Brigitte and Lexy so much!!!

04-11-2012, 02:28 AM
I finished the Long-tailed tit painting today! I call it 'Orange', and it was done on a 20x20 cm canvas with acrylics, oils, and a lot of different papers. The only thing I am not totally happy with is the eye. Somehow it just wouldn't work. Maybe if I let it rest for a couple of weeks I can then try to do something about it again. W&w always welcome!


chammi kaiser
04-11-2012, 03:31 AM
Wonderful. Love this latest one.

04-11-2012, 08:38 AM
Ohhhh, I really like this series! :clap:

Very inventive! I'm loving the very different backgrounds you're giving these :) Really adds a new layer of thought and creativity.



04-11-2012, 09:32 AM
I love this painting, and find the background charming!

Dave Hawk
04-11-2012, 10:08 AM
Song Birds , very nice and unique.

04-13-2012, 09:44 AM
I think you've captured these all beautifully - very nice and a clever idea.

04-16-2012, 04:39 AM
Chammi, Nancy, ncgirl, Dave and Karen: Thank you all so much for your kind support!!! I had a lot of fun with these backgrounds, and I am so happy that others than me find them interesting too! :grouphug:

By the way: I changed the title of this latest one to "Sing for me..." as that is the title of the song on the music sheet in the background :cat:


04-16-2012, 05:10 AM
They're all very nice and delicate I like the bg great idea for a serie

04-28-2012, 12:54 AM
Thank you Robert: I am having a lot of fun with the backgrounds!

Some more experiments coming now: I totally forgot to upload my following small 20x20 cm bird painting, again a small robin, but totally different from the first one. Here I have done the background in acrylic as usual, on a canvas covered with book pages and other paper. I have drawn in the bird right from the outset which is uncommon for me. Usually I paint the background first, and then I decide what bird to fit upon the background. This time however I started the whole painting as a drawing, with both charcoal and ink marker for the bird and twig together with the acrylic. The result is maybe not going to be as painterly as the others, but I am having fun experimenting with this.


C&C always more than welcome!

05-01-2012, 06:42 AM
I got some more done on the latest robin, the bird got its first thin layer of oil colors.


I should get this finished this week, and then I have at least 2 more planned... I have to set myself some goals so as to actually getting something done...

05-02-2012, 05:34 AM
I been painting today again, and now I got the robin almost finished.
What do you think about the branch? I actually quite like it as it is now still only in its 'drawn' stage...
There is a lot more blues and purples in the plumage on the head and neck, but they do not show now. I have to get a better shot of it when I finished it.


C&C as always more than welcome!:wave:

05-02-2012, 08:56 AM
I think the branch is fine as it is. I'm liking the style of these paintings.

online art
05-02-2012, 10:38 AM
great idea, love it

05-02-2012, 09:10 PM
Kanielle and Jason: Thank you so much for looking! It is always great to get positive feedback on ones experiments... :wave:

05-04-2012, 08:19 AM
Yey! I finished the robin today! I named it 'Yes?' Hopefully the picture I got will look better onscreen than the last one.
The background was build up with book pages and other papers, and colored in with acrylics. The bird is in oil. And as the name of this thread suggest, the size is 20x20cm:


I also have the following 20x20cm painting started, and this will be another long tailed tit: 'Spring mood', inspired by all the trees that are getting greener and greener outdoors...


As usual, C&C more than welcome!:wave:

05-06-2012, 09:47 PM
I've been paining away again, and have an update on Spring mood:


The more of these small birds I paint, the easier it becomes. It doesn't take as long anymore for every bird, and that is an accomplishment for me!

I also started the next 20x20cm painting, and the background is now ready for another Long-tailed tit. Again it is book pages, papers and my own handwriting overpainted with acrylics that is forming the background:


C&C much appreciated!!:wave:

06-26-2012, 10:09 PM
almost forgot I had started this thread...

I finished Spring mood yesterday, so I thought I would share it with you here! Book pages, acrylic and oil on canvas, 20x20cm:


C&C always more than welcome!!

06-26-2012, 11:43 PM
Superb work on all the birds! Great backgrounds!:clap:

06-27-2012, 03:31 PM
I LOVE all these paintings, so unique and interesting :)

06-28-2012, 04:33 AM
Bertoni and Arty: Thank you so much!

06-28-2012, 06:13 AM
I think it's gorgeous, and a wonderful idea to use book pages. I didn't even notice that it was several pages pieced together until I read the comment and went back to look again, so I obviously didn't find it distracting. Now that I see the edges, I still don't find them distracting. I think they contribute to the balance and flow somehow.

I too would be concerned about the archival quality of the book pages. Sealing it with acrylic medium should do the trick, but I really have no idea.

Still, I think this is a terrific idea and can't wait to do a similar series now.

06-29-2012, 10:35 PM
Thank you Mary for your feedback!!!
The book pages when coated with several layers of both medium and paint should be ok, and I do not mind if the text of the pages would fade. But I honestly do not how archival it is by doing it this way. Paper on paper is usually fine, but paper on canvas... Thats why I have tried to make the layers thick enough that it actually would survive without the canvas under it. But the canvas is of course soft by nature, and the papers stiff when coated with medium... Oh well, time will tell! :)