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Old 05-08-2019, 11:50 AM
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FrankM FrankM is offline
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What's Wrong with this Cardinal?

I've been wanting to paint more images of cardinals, and I found a picture with a fun pose. The crest position is fairly unique, but it may hamper the painting attempt.

However, my issue is not with the crest -- I'm fairly pleased with how it turned out. I can't tell if something is wrong with the bird or the background. (The image may be a little fuzzy in my attempt to post.) I welcome advice to help this fellow improve:



9x11 on Arches 140 CP, DaVinci paints

Cheers, all!
Frank
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Old 05-08-2019, 12:04 PM
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Yorky Yorky is offline
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Re: What's Wrong with this Cardinal?

I;m not an expert, but it looks like a male Cardinal to me.

Doug
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Old 05-08-2019, 12:09 PM
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FrankM FrankM is offline
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Re: What's Wrong with this Cardinal?

You're exactly right, Doug. The females are more subdued in color, a lovely rich brown with some red highlights:

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Old 05-08-2019, 02:56 PM
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RBloechl RBloechl is offline
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Re: What's Wrong with this Cardinal?

It looks a little flat, Frank. I think if you lift a few high lights and add a few darker areas, it will help give the bird a rounder shape.

Rich
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Old 05-08-2019, 02:59 PM
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Ellen E Ellen E is offline
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Re: What's Wrong with this Cardinal?

I'm barely more than a beginner with watercolor but I think if you were to darken the area just behind the outline of the bird, that would make the bird stand forward more. It might be that my monitor isn't showing the picture accurately, so I could be wrong, but that's my impression of what might help.
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Old 05-08-2019, 03:09 PM
KiwiKate KiwiKate is offline
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Re: What's Wrong with this Cardinal?

I like Rich's suggestions. Very nicely painted Frank!
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Old 05-08-2019, 06:02 PM
Catspeare Catspeare is offline
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Re: What's Wrong with this Cardinal?

Frank, do you have a reference photo for this cardinal and his pose?

The first think I noticed was that his wing seemed to sort of droop a bit unnaturally. I may be entirely wrong, of course, but you asked.

I think that the brush work marking out his wing feathers to differentiate them from those on his chest might extend upward a little closer to his neck, as I've indicated. And also that there might could be more of the black markings on his wings to increase the value contrast and punch up the coloration on the bird. Some cardinals have more darker markings on their wings than others, but it's always striking when they do.



On more thing, you might want to think about how the clouds seem to create a sort of halo effect around his crest. Just a thought.......

I always enjoy seeing your birds! The breast feathers on this cardinal are particularly well done. They seem so soft and downy!

Regards,
Cat
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:25 PM
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Re: What's Wrong with this Cardinal?

Thanks, all, for your thoughtful comments.

Yes, some highlights and [whatever the opposite of highlights is] will help. Good eye, Rich.

Ellen, yes. The outline from two relatively dark pigments has made an outline. I may be able to work with something there.

Cat, here is the photo I used:



You may be onto something on the wing markings. Surprisingly, the position of the shoulder on the bird in the photo is different than expected. Perhaps that's part of my struggle with the way it looks. I may blend it in a bit more to what our eye expects.

Keep the thoughts coming if you see anything else -- I like the feedback!

Frank
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:50 PM
Catspeare Catspeare is offline
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Re: What's Wrong with this Cardinal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankM
You may be onto something on the wing markings. Surprisingly, the position of the shoulder on the bird in the photo is different than expected. Perhaps that's part of my struggle with the way it looks. I may blend it in a bit more to what our eye expects.

Keep the thoughts coming if you see anything else -- I like the feedback!

Frank

Squint your eyes when looking at your photo reference and note the value contrast and the shadow pattern as the light falls across the bird. Note the little glints of strong light in a few places like the strong highlight on the bird's right leg, on the beak, etc. You should be able to lift those out.

Also there are some decided darks, like the dark shadow under the bird's back wing, which by contrast will set off the front of his chest. Also there are black feathers in his near wing and in his tail feathers, which you may have just not gotten around to putting in as yet.

You might want to think about putting, perhaps with a bit of negative painting, a few suggestions of near foliage in the bottom left hand corner to give that space some interest. Just a thought!

Cat
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Old 05-08-2019, 10:19 PM
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calvin_0 calvin_0 is offline
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Re: What's Wrong with this Cardinal?

after looking at the ref photo, I think you got the proportion slightly off..

the head is abit too small, the wings is abit too big, the feet is too small and the tail is too small..

the feet perceptive is also off the left legs should be slightly smaller as it's slightly further away.. but you got it backward..

but at these stage, you cant really fix all these problem, so just focus on finishing it.. the finish painting might look nice regardless..

Last edited by calvin_0 : 05-08-2019 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 05-08-2019, 10:23 PM
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Re: What's Wrong with this Cardinal?

I would think that moving his eye in toward the beak (about half the distance of the size of his eye pupil) would help considerably.
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