View Full Version : Feather Samples, Up and Close...

10-22-2000, 09:25 PM
As promised....here are a couple images of feather work. This piece won Wisconsin's Wildlife Artist of the Year for me, with a near sold out edition print series. The style comes from a great influence the Baroque period painters (Rembrandt, Frans Hals) had on my painting in my early year developments. The Baroque style was known for its dramatic, near stage-like use of lighting.

First..the original as is, and then a close up of the Hungarian Partridge with owl's foot, and then the plumage on the side of the Hun...or "Grey" partridge.

I started with the darkest value, then used semi-transparent strokes of paint with small round synthetic brushes to build up the feathers. It took about 45 hours to complete the owl, and about 35 hours to complete the Grey partridge. When detail became a bit too pronounced, I would use a wash of color over the whole area of a feather group I was working on to bring it back to unity and regain softness. I did this to create shadows, etc; Where the sun light hits most direct are brushstrokes of purer white and color left for last and painted more opaque.
This was all done in acrylics. Hope it helps some.....

Larry http://lseiler.artistnation.com

<IMG SRC="http://www.wetcanvas.com/Critiques/User/Snowy_Owl.jpg" border=0>

Grey partridge with foot detail....
<IMG SRC="http://www.wetcanvas.com/Critiques/User/grey_and_foot.JPG" border=0>

Side plumage detail of Grey Partridge...
<IMG SRC="http://www.wetcanvas.com/Critiques/User/Hungarian_side_plumage.JPG" border=0>

[This message has been edited by lseiler (edited October 22, 2000).]

10-22-2000, 10:29 PM
Thanks for posting, Is it on masonite?or another. I don`t even know if I have the right brushes but they`ll work for now http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

10-22-2000, 10:47 PM
Thankyou! I could get lost for hours looking at this!
What really stands out is how you have done the soft chest feathering on the partridge. This is an area where I run into trouble. The feathering quite often is so subtle, with just a hint that there is individual feathers there. My cockatoo (the real bird) has feathers layering like this and I shaded around each with a blue in my painting, with touches of yellow washes (didn't know what else I should have used in a white bird). I then tried to stroke on lines to show the tiny 'hairs' extending out from the feather shaft, but I still couldn't quite get the 'feel' I wanted.
I tried to work with a very tiny sable brush, 00 series 7, I think. But I like what you've done with a synthetic brush. What kind and what size?
Each of your wing primaries also shows each separate fine strand. I managed this not too badly in my Congo grey, but only on the primary flights. I kinda lost it on the body feathering. I wish I could show you my paintings up close, but I don't know how to post them! You really can't see any detail at all on my website. (not to mention the closeups have been sliced drastically for protection of my graphics). In my macaw, I got the facial skin quite realistic, but the feathering on the body and head looks more like fur. I didn't know how to get those very subtle layers of feathers. (the macaw will not be a print, as it was a study done as practise and I used a magazine photo as reference). I really want to learn how to accomplish what you have with feathers! I think I will start this week by doing studies of each type of feather! (I save a lot of molted feathers from my own birds- so there's no shortage of examples to work from!)
Oh, btw...you asked me before what colour I would use to darken the yellow head of a bird? I would have reached for the raw sienna. Never would have even considered the violet. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

[This message has been edited by BevL (edited October 22, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by BevL (edited October 22, 2000).]

10-23-2000, 12:32 AM
I'll just give a short response here, as I gotta hit the hay as they say.

I used small #2 and #3 synthetic rounds, and painted on masonite.

I put about 3 or 4 layers of masonite, and sanded pretty smooth to handle the detail I intended.

I'm pretty much a slob painter, in that I've learned to use what I could afford to use or had around. I know there are some fine painters here that would never consider using anything but the best brushes. I've learned to use edges of various metal blades, old toothbrushes, finger tips, etc; and in fact, I get a bit of a chuckle when someone tells me what I'm not capable of because of what I'm using. Makes me feel like if I ever get the right tools someday, watch out!

g'night, and glad you enjoyed the post.


10-23-2000, 05:54 AM
Hey Larry: You and I both know that the right brush for the job is one that gets used. Their is no substitute for just painting and using the excuse that you don't have the right brush is ridiculous. How’s this….. I once used a whisker from my cat! Oh course, chasing that cat down was an experience in itself. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif


See you in the Cafe Chat Room (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/WetChat/index.html) ...Or, stop by ... the Virtual Cafe Guerbois (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/cafe/) today and sign up for one of the painting/drawing projects!

10-23-2000, 05:20 PM
Hey when you gotta paint, you gotta paint and it doesn't matter what you use.

http://www.artdebut.com/arlene0.htm (http://www.artdebut.com/arlene.htm)

10-24-2000, 07:59 PM
<FONT COLOR="Red">Bevl,</FONT c> How to post on wetcanvas (http://www.artistnation.com/members/lofts/loenart/howtopost.html)

[This message has been edited by animal (edited October 24, 2000).]

10-24-2000, 09:37 PM

I used to draw birds quite a bit and I love doing it. I have one I did some years ago in graphite that I'm rather proud of -- I'll post it at the end of this message 'cause I'd like your critique on it. I haven't draw any since this one and never really painted one. This is something I'd like to try in the near future.

Brings me to my main question: do you have any tips for pastelists? I've yet to see a decent book on wildlife for this medium. I bought the book "Keys to Painting Fur and Feathers", because it was advertised on the jacket cover as "covers all mediums" and listed pastels as one of them. HAH! I ended up writing a rather scathing review for Amazon.com on that. Covers pastels my . . . finger.

Anyhooo, any tips? Resources?

Oh, and here's the pencil drawing I did some years ago -- 1983. It's actually a scanned image of a photocopy -- a lot of the "white" areas are missing. The original was framed years ago and I don't want to take it apart.

<IMG SRC="http://www.wetcanvas.com/Critiques/User/chickadee2.jpg" border=0>

Please tell me what you think? I'm wanting to start painting birds soon and I've never painted them before. Just drawn.


"Am fear a ghleidheas a theanga, gleidhidh e a charaid."

10-24-2000, 09:49 PM
<FONT face="Comic Sans MS">Roan,</FONT f>I too have just recently started wanting to paint birds and animals after drawing for a couple years,but will continue with drawing and painting. I own keys to painting fur and feathers and you`re right there is not much about pastels

10-24-2000, 10:33 PM

That has to be the only book that actually made me angry! I mean, they specifically mention pastels on the jacket cover! There are some *gorgeous* pastel paintings in the book as well, but they don't even cover pastels in their chapters. There's only one demo, and it's a raccoon that you can't even see clearly. Talk about misleading advertising. What a rip-off!

Now, the book is great for acrylic and other mediums and has some wonderful tips I *can* use with pastels so I'm going to keep it.

Hoping Larry can recommend something *crosses fingers*.


"Am fear a ghleidheas a theanga, gleidhidh e a charaid."