Backyard Cardinal and watercolor

I snapped a cute photo of a female Cardinal on my backyard feeder. I thought it would be fun to paint this lovely bird and share my watercolor process with you.

Happy Sunday!

My painting inspiration and backyard capture… a lovely Cardinal ❤

Female Cardinal photo

I started thinking about the colors I would need for this painting while viewing the photo on my laptop.  Below is a little test sheet with notes on the colors mixed and used.


color testing

Color mixing notes (Daniel Smith watercolors)
Orange:  Quinacridone Rose and Hansa Yellow light
Brown:  Yellow Ochre and Payne’s Gray
Red:  Deep Scarlet and Payne’s Gray
Purple:  Ultramarine Blue, Quinacridone Rose, and Payne’s Gray

The initial sketch and first light wash

initial wash - female cardinal

With the first wash I put down enough color to define the overall shape and create a nice base to build on.

I just love her gorgeous feather tiara. 🙂  She looks like the queen of the backyard.


Second wash - female cardinal The second wash starts to bring things to life as I build up color and add some darker values. As you can see, there is still more work that needs to be done.


Female Cardinal 3rd wash

The third wash builds up even more color and includes the addition of a background. I thought it was finished at this point. But after the painting dried I decided it needed a few more small details. I used a black micron pen with a very small tip (.005) and a white gel pen for the additional details.


Female Cardinal watercolor

I also brightened up the green a bit in the background before calling this one done.

Watercolor Tips:

  • Test out your colors on scrap paper first and write down notes on color mixing.
  • When sketching on watercolor paper, be careful to use a light touch. I recently used some new paper and found that it easily became bruised from my pencil markings. I realized the problem only after I started painting…..lesson learned and a good reminder going forward.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my watercolor process and are inspired to create art.

Thank you for stopping by and following along. Until next time, share a smile and do something you love.

Happy Painting!

Patty Anne

Patty Anne Art on Instagram

Patty Anne Art


Backyard Bluebird

This little bluebird stopped by for a visit recently.  Luckily I had my new camera in hand  when this little guy arrived. I did my best to contain my excitement long enough to snap a few pics of him. 🙂

Backyard Bluebird
Backyard Bluebird


I thought it would be fun to try painting my bluebird. I started with a light pencil sketch first, and then moved on to the eye and beak making sure to get the placement and details correct.

Bluebird watercolor
Bluebird watercolor

While working on the feathers, I like to dampen a small area of the paper with a little clean water.  Then I drop in a little paint and let the colors move and mingle. A gentle touch with a small brush seems to work well for painting the feathers on a small bird like this one.

I decided to try something a little different for the background and create a frame of color around my bird. It has taken a lot of painting for me to get comfortable trying different backgrounds. There are still times when I have to push worry out of the way and just go for it.

Tip – how to flatten your watercolor painting if the paper curls up or has buckled
After you have finished your painting and it is completely dry, you can flatten it by lightly wetting the back side of the paper with clean water and then setting a heavy book or two on top of it until it dries completely.

I hope you enjoy seeing my work and are inspired to create art and do something you love. Thank you for stopping by and following along. Until next time, have a great week! 🙂 ❤

Happy Painting!

Patty Anne