I’ve been having fun painting various animals this spring, including this colorful rooster. His lines and blend of colors intrigued me, so I was inspired to reproduce his likeness in watercolor. Typical of birds throughout Grand Cayman, I found this one strutting his stuff in Hell. (Yes, that really is the name of a village there.)
When I paint the same subject repeatedly, I tend to get into a rut, using the same techniques and similar colors. When I try a new subject like this one, however, it’s easier to break out of that rut to try new techniques, experiment with color or lighting, and give myself a chance to really grow as an artist.
In this painting I used more wet-in-wet painting technique than I have had a tendency to do in the past. I didn’t entirely abandon my wet-on-dry technique, incorporating it for the sake of feather texture. I also used masking fluid in some areas and found it beneficial to lift some of the color, particularly in the tail and wing feathers and to soften the edges of the masked areas. But I also took the opportunity to play with the foreground a bit, splattering it with various colors of paint, echoing those used in the bird, to simulate gravel. The background wash has also been lightly sprinkled with clear water to add texture and interest to the understated haze.
Like many pictures I’ve taken of animals, the photos did not come out exactly as I would have preferred, but I was able to make necessary adjustments for the sake of the painting. The bird’s body was incorporated from one photograph; the face and wattle (resized to fit) were from another.