View Full Version : Yellow-rumped warbler & Bohemian waxwing-wip

05-05-2017, 01:28 AM
This will be another pair of local bird species as they return from their winter vacation. The yellow rumped warbler is one of our spring birds which arrives before the leaves are on the trees and they forage for whatever flies and bugs are attracted to the flowers on the local trees. This particular painting has a pair of birds on the tree which is a maple that is in our front yard. The leaves are just starting to bud and there are a few flies when the sun warms up the atmosphere. We have two six foot long windows in our kitchen and we have a wide view of the action. The tree is only five feet from the window so we can get some nice close photos without interfering with their meal. This first offering is just a rough pencil sketch that I will put in some detailed scenery from our street in front of the house.


a bit blurry, but it will take shape as the background outlines them.

chammi kaiser
05-05-2017, 02:37 AM
Watching with delight. Thanks for sharing the process.

05-05-2017, 02:51 AM
Thank you Chammi. A bit of colour.


05-05-2017, 01:30 PM
Looking good, I like the composition and the pose of the top bird, and the diagonal branches. Will be watching :)

05-05-2017, 07:07 PM
Thank you Kay.

I've just blocked in most of the background so I can keep an eye on the birds. Lots more work to be done on the background.


All these bird paintings are 9 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches on Strathmore water colour paper with acrylics. The waxwings will also be on this same paper.

05-05-2017, 11:36 PM
A bit of background work on the mountain.


05-06-2017, 03:33 AM
A bit more work on the background.


chammi kaiser
05-06-2017, 04:03 PM
Jon , are you painting this on Yupo ? Looking really nice.

05-06-2017, 06:27 PM
Thanks Chammi; at the bottom of post #5 it explains my particulars. I'm not sure what Yupo is and we have very little access to art supplies in the area where we live...400 miles to the nearest city. The watercolour block is actually 13" x 17" but I've purchased a number of frames with glass and liner already included so I'm doing these small (although life size) bird paintings and I have a larger block for when I do some of the duck species and larger raptors. I don't want to make them larger than life size. (I'd have a hard time tracing around their bodies....Ha ha!)

05-06-2017, 06:41 PM
Looking good Jon!

chammi kaiser
05-07-2017, 02:08 AM
Hi Jon, sorry didn't read the bottom of post #5. Yupo is a plastic sheet of 'paper' with a very smooth surface and lends itself to some very interesting techniques with watercolour, acrylics, etc. Pieter Zaastra's class demontrates the amazing work he does on Yupo. Here is a link.


05-08-2017, 03:07 AM
Thank you Kay and Chammi;

I'm working the background down from the top of the painting. A couple of cedars among the hemlocks. Not much work on the Lord's Day.:angel:


05-09-2017, 05:22 AM
looking great so far

05-09-2017, 11:26 PM
Thanks Fedetony.

05-09-2017, 11:33 PM
I'm working on the branches in the rock maple. The tree was planted beside the house but grew up too tall so that the branches hung over the roof and moss started to cover the roof. I topped the tree and it sprouted new branches which are reddish. The old branches that were left are grey and covered with lichens and moss. The top bird is on the new branches and the lower bird is on the original branches...which are grey and look like they are from a different tree altogether.:lol:


05-10-2017, 02:43 AM
More background.


05-11-2017, 02:40 AM
Detailing the main branch. (old growth).


05-11-2017, 02:44 AM
The details are messy at this stage while I let the paint dry and apply more later. (after the lighter colours have a heavier coat.)


05-11-2017, 04:24 PM
Very interesting to follow your progress. The background and foliage is brilliant!

05-11-2017, 04:29 PM
agree... looks quite nice already

Vivien Maloney
05-12-2017, 02:16 PM
Its looking great and Im enjoying seeing your progress.

05-13-2017, 07:04 PM
Thank you Penny, Fedetony, and Vivien.
The yellow rumped warbler often doesn't show the 'yellow rump' due to the angle and can be confused with other similar warblers; so I posted a rear view of the one on the top branch giving an unique angle. (soon to be seen in living colour!)

05-14-2017, 12:19 AM
This is the reference photo which doesn't show the 'yellow rump' from this angle. Notice how much the bright yellow camouflages the bird at this stage of feeding. You might expect it to stick out like a sore thumb with that kind of colour and yet it really blends in. If they weren't so flighty trying to catch the flies, I'd probably never get a focused photo.:crying:


05-15-2017, 04:34 AM
You can always glaze your greens with yellow for them to blend in ;)

05-15-2017, 06:52 AM
Excellent! Very lifelike.

05-16-2017, 02:33 AM
Thanks for looking in Fedetony and Penny.

This is a start on the lower bird.


A bit blurry but so is the bird at this stage. Just waiting for the acrylics to dry so I can do a bit of detailing.

05-16-2017, 08:49 AM
Looks great!!!!

05-16-2017, 01:24 PM
Thank you Marlene.

This photo has better resolution than the last attempt!


05-16-2017, 02:12 PM
Wow you have an amazing view out of your window, so jealous, we live in a town but do look out onto greenery in other people's gardens:lol:. Your birds and background are looking really good so far:cat:

05-16-2017, 04:42 PM
It's fun to watch the steps of progress in your work. I love the details you're getting here. Looking great!

05-16-2017, 11:59 PM
It looks great so far!

05-17-2017, 06:00 AM
before you add the bird I would add a little more shadows or texture to the background trees (dark ones behind...) is a bit flat

05-17-2017, 12:54 PM
Thank you Fedetony for "not just patting my back." I think it will work out just as well having the background in cloudy shadow but the immediate foreground being sunlit from the left. These are two photos of the same scene with the first being the original (which was a day of scattered cloud but sunlit in the forground), and today's photo of the same scene with full sunlight from the same angle.
While I'm introducing the other bird, it will be finished with details including sunlight from the left side although this photo hasn't progressed to that degree just yet.


05-17-2017, 12:56 PM

This is a brighter view this morning!

05-17-2017, 12:58 PM

05-18-2017, 01:30 AM
Interesting viewpoint on the top bird. Remarkable plumage.

05-18-2017, 03:48 AM
Thank you Christel...it was one of the ways to show the actual 'yellow rump'. Most photos I have taken exclude it altogether.

This is just about finished. A few details after this batch dries and a signature should finish. Then on to the waxwings.:wave:


chammi kaiser
05-18-2017, 08:07 AM
Jon. I also think you have done a fantastic job on the plumage of the yellow-rumped warbler. This is a super painting. Well done.

05-18-2017, 01:36 PM
This is a beautiful painting, I enjoyed following your progress with it too.

05-19-2017, 12:06 AM
Beautiful work, Jon!

05-19-2017, 03:39 AM
Thank you Chammi, Pam, and Christel, for your kind comments. This is the finish for the warblers and tomorrow starts the Bohemian waxwings.


05-19-2017, 04:36 AM
Well done :) it is super :)... I wonder why the vesica piscis in your signature?

05-19-2017, 09:06 PM
[QUOTE=I wonder why the vesica piscis in your signature?[/QUOTE]

That's a common sign of historical members of Jesus Christ's followers. It keeps me aware of who really designed all these creatures that I paint...not me...and I look for the details to see the intricacies that are important to make each creation an accurate representation of His work. Jon.

05-20-2017, 02:57 AM
A sketchy start on the waxwings. These refs are from a trip we took at the end of the winter and the birds were feeding on frozen crab apples. The flocks were quite large and they were gorging on these frozen delights. The majority of my photos were taken out of town, but I have several from a family that hatched at the top of our street although they were the less colourful 'cedar waxwings' and they had a large family but most pics I took were of the immature birds with less colour than these mature birds.


I may add one more bird and there will be more apples yet also.

05-20-2017, 03:08 AM
This is a photo reference from early in the morning.


05-20-2017, 12:34 PM
A busy and difficult reference to work from. I'll be watching your progress.

05-21-2017, 08:05 AM
Thanks for sharing this... The yellow rumped warblers came out beautifully :)

Will check back later on the waxwings... :)

05-22-2017, 02:24 AM
Thank you Christel; I'm actually taking the reference from several other photos, that was just a pic to show the crowd while they were feeding.

Thanks Karebear for your comments.

Just a start on the background.


05-22-2017, 04:09 AM
Mnnn... I think you should have started another WIP thread :)

05-22-2017, 11:00 AM
Mnnn... I think you should have started another WIP thread :)

Can do. :thumbsup: