Experimenting with Tufted Titmice

Tufted Titmouse

Click to view larger.

My journal proved a good place to experiment this week with tufted titmice, dark backgrounds, and text. These birds often visit my feeders in winter, providing good opportunities for study. I thought I would sketch a few birds in different poses as time allowed, but after painting the bird on the left, I decided to take a different approach. I wanted to add big text and see whether I could get a bird to perch on the letters. It’s a little tricky to substitute letters for branches, but the bird on the right seems fairly convincing. I also wanted to try a dark background, so I experimented with different shades of blue, making swatches on a test sheet and holding them next to the birds to see what worked best. In the end, this combination of ultramarine and burnt sienna with a bit of water sprayed into the wet paint created a nice wintry effect. The letters are the reverse color mix, with burnt sienna dominating and some blue floated in to add a little weight. My next step will be to try the same techniques in a more careful painting— stay tuned!

9 Comments on “Experimenting with Tufted Titmice

  1. Tufted titmice — some of my favs! I love the letters used as a branch, and the dark background. Takes it to a whole new level.

  2. Tufted Titmice are one of my favorite birds! I love how you perched them on the letters, and the way you did the background! Can’t wait to see what you do with them next!

  3. They are such appealing little creatures and you painted them beautifully! Love them standing on the letters.


  4. I love these! You caught the expressions and pose! I just recently did a page in my journal of these cuties. I enjoy watching them at my feeders as well. I hope you don’t mind that I borrowed your lettering idea. It just seemed to fit. Thank you for your posts and suggestions.

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