American Goldfinch

A female American Goldfinch has been gleaning fibers from my hammock chair to line her nest. She hangs from one of the braided tassels and combs her beak through the tuft at the end to gather loose fibers. I thought I would help her out by pinning some loose strings to the top of the hammock chair while she was away for a minute. When she came back she looked at the new strings for a long time, then must have decided they were not adequate, because she went back to the tassel to gather more fibers.

I was asked to share some of my painting process, so took a few photos as this sketch progressed. I began by painting the background to give me an idea of how to judge the rest of the values in the painting.

Then I painted the bird and braided tassel. For the shadows on the bird’s muted yellow back feathers I used some of the same colors I used in the background so that she would connect with the rest of the painting.

And, finally, I painted the dark feathers and the shadows on the hammock chair and eggs. It takes a brave brush to paint dark shadows on yellow and white. I was taught that shadows in daylight are about 40% darker than the light areas, to make the dimension pop. I always have to take a deep breath and just go for it and hope for the best. Not all the shadows in this painting are 40% darker than the light areas, but it works for me.

I challenge you to try something brave in your sketchbook this week. Happy sketching!

I will be painting the Lazuli Bunting sketch next. So come back to see how that turns out.

6 thoughts on “American Goldfinch

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