I am a self taught artist who loves to paint, and, if you can learn from loving it, that’s what I did. I am now living in Northeast Oklahoma, but I was brought up in Northern Wisconsin. My favorite things to paint are snow scenes and trees. I really like to see a beginner paint one of my designs in their style even though they don’t even know they have a style.
I think painting is great therapy. I have also made many new friends through my painting. I frequently teach a watercolor class at the local Vocational Technical College. I have also taught at several decorative painting conventions and chapter events.
To learn more about Karen and to view more of her work, please visit her website below:
Beginner Watercolor Lesson – Learn How to Paint a Bluebird From a Photo By Karen Frye
My palette of colors for this painting is: Ultra Marine Blue, Burnt Sienna, Neutral Tint (neutral tint is a transparent black), and Raw Umber. You can use most any colors and it will work fine. The white on the bird is simply the white of the paper that is left white.
Below is the reference photo I used to create this painting:
The photo below is a simple sketch I created for the painting from the reference photo above:
Transfer sketch to your watercolor paper. For best results use 140# watercolor paper preferably paper that is bought in sheets and separated in smaller sheets to fit your frame.
Begin painting by wetting the whole bird with clean water. Wet, but not puddles. Base the bird with a light wash matching the colors in the picture.
Again wash the whole bird matching colors, this time using a darker value of each color. This time, wash in the fence post the bluebird is standing on with a light wash of raw umber.
In this step, you will define the areas of the bird again matching colors with again a darker value of the colors. The eye should have a small white highlight. The bluebirds’s feet are a
neutral tint and the post is detailed with neural tint. (see photo)
This is a very beginner project. Please enjoy painting it.
John Ulman says
The sketch might have been detailed more.
The finished watercolor needed more contrast on the head and back.
However the lesson was good for beginner.
Hi,that demo is very interesting.Is it possible to use watercolour pencils to do this drawing? very good work,thanks very much .Armand
Omar Emmons says
Great work! Love a good watercolor, so clean and pure.
Of course all medium is good in the hands of a craftsman
Thank you for the lesson. I painted the bird and it turned out great for a beginner like me! Next time could you give the colors of the paints you use? Thank you.
Thanks for the step-by-step! I’d love to get painting some of the birds in the garden, this will give me a head start.
Jenifer Goffe says
I found it quite helpful. I enjoy watercolors and will certainly give your method a try. Thanks.
Airee Williams says
VERY good and this is a good tutorial. I have been wanting to learn how to paint for the longest using traditional mediums. Right now, I am a digital/visiual artist that uses digital paint tools. It is a WHOLE lot harder than drawing by hand, trust me. Good work!
YOUR PAINTINGS ARE LOVELY… I HOPE SOMEDAY, TO DO AS WELL….I ACTUALLY HAVE ONLY BEEN PAINTING A LITTLE OVER A YEAR, SELF-TAUGHT…AND USING ACRYLICS…I WOULD LIKE TO GET INTO THE WATERCOLOUR PAINTING….I TOOK A BEGINNER CLASS AND I WAS NOT IMPRESSED… HOWEVER, I WILL GIVE IT ANOTHER TRY,…I AM MOST INTERESTED IN LANDSCAPES/ANIMALS/AND FLOWERS ….
Thank you for such a great tutorial. I have wanted to learn watercolor techniques.
Your work is awesome! Many happy times painting. This bird is my first. Would like to try a butterfly next.
Sobre todo para quien se inicia
Sería interesanta saber si utilizas pomos o pastillas y que papel