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 Nuthatch

A frequent visitor to my backyard is the sweet Nuthatch.  This cute little bird is always fun to watch balancing on the feeder or creeping around on a tree trunk in search of food.

Backyard Nuthatch photo

This guy was pretty vocal. I just love this pic. ❤


Nuthatch in a tree

This fella was on a mission bouncing around on a tree trunk. 🙂


White-breasted Nuthatch
Nuthatch watercolor


I decided to combine both of my photos for this painting and tried to capture the cute expression of the sweet Nuthatch in the first photo.

I started off with a light pencil sketch and then added a little detail with a black Micron pen. I continued with watercolor building up color and adding definition to my bird and branch.  At this point, I was quite happy and thought I was finished.

but …

Later I took a few photos of my painting and it became quite clear that it really needed more color. I decided to go for it and really punch up the blues.

Ahh.. that’s better. 🙂 That color boost really made a difference.

White-breasted Nuthatch final
Nuthatch watercolor 

Watercolor Tip:

Viewing a photo of your work can help you see where you need to add additional detail or more color.

I hope you enjoy seeing my art and my backyard friends. Thank you for stopping by and following along. Until next time, have a great week and do something you love!

Happy Painting!

Patty Anne




Simple Petals & Leaves

It is always fun to play and practice.

A few simple flowers and leaves with my favorite Dagger brush. ❤

For this practice, I limited the colors used and tried to limit the number of brush strokes on each flower. At first I was a little disappointed that I could not master the rose shape but what I realized after playing around a while is that I actually like the irregular shapes best.

Simple Roses
Simple Roses

I started at the base of the flower putting pressure on the brush and pulling up toward the top,  then the same thing on the other side to complete the bud shape.

While the bud was still wet, I tried to cradle it with green leaves. Starting at the base with smaller strokes, I pulled upward to create little leaves on both sides.

The last step was simply painting the stem by starting at the base of the bud/leaves and pulling down to create a fine line.


Simple petals and leaves
Simple petals and leaves

I loosened up after a while and then tried some other playful shapes. I really like how they turned out.


Simple Roses and buds

For this practice piece, I added a blue sky and played a little more.
Nothing complicated, just a few joyful flowers. 🙂

I think it is important to allow yourself time to play…it helps keep things interesting and fun.

Rose buds
Rose buds –  6 x 9 inch watercolor on Bee paper

For this final painting, I kept things soft and loose. I really love this painting and plan on giving it to a very special couple.

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



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



Chickadee and Flowers

I love to sketch and paint birds and today I have another to share with you. A little Chickadee surrounded by flowers.

I just fell in love. 🙂

Chickadee and flowers
Chickadee and Flowers

painted on 7×10 inch Canson watercolor paper

This little birdie was the pick me up that I needed a few weeks ago. ❤

After a few paintings didn’t work out very well, I needed to get back to something I really enjoy painting. It’s good to know where to turn and what makes you feel good.

I decided to follow my heart and that made me very happy.

Watercolor tips:

  • give some thought to your color palette and background before you begin
  • allow some areas of paint to bleed into one another and let the watercolor magic happen
  • don’t put pressure on yourself, stay positive and enjoy the process

I hope you are inspired to create art and do something you love.
Thanks for stopping by and following along. Until next time, have a great week and enjoy yourself. 🙂

Happy Painting!

Patty Anne



Coneflower watercolor

A few years ago I painted a Coneflower after watching this Deb Watson youtube video, How to Paint a Coneflower in Watercolor for Beginners. I decided to watch the video again but this time decided to paint a larger flower.

I painted this first Coneflower in 2015 shortly after I started documenting my journey.  This was painting number 35.

Coneflower watercolor
Coneflower painting 2015

I’m really pleased with this early work, I think it was a nice exercise.

In the video, I love that Deb walks through painting the wet on wet background by dropping in lots of color and letting the colors mix and mingle. I remember when I was just a beginner, she made me feel like I could do this and gave me the confidence to give it a try.  This video is packed full of great tips and advice that has stayed with me.

My recent Coneflower painting on 9×12 inch Saunders watercolor paper.

Coneflower painting
Coneflower painting 2018

This is painting number 651.  Wow, I am so amazed by that number! 🙂

The salt technique worked out much better in the new painting. I have more experience using salt now and have a better feel for when to sprinkle it on the wet paint.

Salt technique – things that can affect your results
How wet is the paint. If too dry,  the salt will not work very well.
How much salt is applied.
How you apply the salt. Sprinkle or Toss like”Bam” 🙂
Applying the salt from directly above or at an angle.
The type of salt used. Kosher salt or a finer table salt.

I hope you are inspired to create some art and do something fun.
Thanks for stopping by and following along. Until next time, enjoy yourself and stay warm.

Happy Painting!

Patty Anne






Painting with a new brush

A number of months ago I bought a few Princeton Dagger brushes. This week I decided to practice with the small 1/4 inch brush. I found it to be a great choice for painting leaves, twigs, and branches. I need to practice with this brush a bit more but it was fun to switch things up and try something new.

Dagger brush notes:
The brush holds a lot of paint, be sure to have a nice puddle of color to work with.
The super fine tip is perfect for detail work and fine lines.
Dipping the brush in 2 different colors and then pulling the brush across the paper creates some very fun results.

dagger brush practice


I played around and painted a series of leaves. My favorite ones are below. I like the simplicity and soft colors, all very calming.

Daniel Smith watercolors:  Undersea Green, Carbazole Violet, and French Ultramarine
Each painted on 6×9 inch Aquabee watercolor paper.

Leaves watercolor series
Leaves watercolor series


I painted some pretty pink flowers with the small dagger brush. It created some nice loose shapes for the leaves and petals. I also used a few of my favorite go-to round brushes in this painting as well.
Pink Posies watercolor painted on 6×9 inch Aquabee watercolor paper.

Pink Posies watercolor
Pink Posies watercolor


Try something new…
Mix it up with a new paintbrush or a new sketchbook. Maybe even paint something you’ve never painted before. Playing around and having fun can often produce some very exciting results.

I hope you are inspired to create some art and do something fun. Thanks for stopping by and following along. Until next time, have a great week and stay warm.

Happy Painting!

Patty Anne