My previous post on tulips left me eager for more reds, though this week, I’m back to birds and words. What better choice  for reds than the Northern Cardinal, the most colorful bird at my feeder in winter? But isn’t red just red, you ask? Well, absolutely not. You can see that I’ve experimented with different reds (and yellow) here— mixing combinations of transparent reds in a range of warm and cool tones. Other than alizarin crimson, these aren’t colors I use frequently, so this was a worthwhile experiment.

Tips and Techniques– Here’s the line up of colors at the top: Nickel Azo Yellow, Quin Magenta mixed with Transparent Pyrrole Orange, Vermillion, and Alizarin Crimson. The Vermillion looks heavy because it’s Dr. Ph. Martin’s Synchromatic Transparent Water Color, an intense liquid watercolor that I’ve had in my desk for years, but rarely use. The point here isn’t to go out and buy any of these colors, but to experiment with your own. Try mixing the ones on your palette (or in your drawer) to see how much they will do for you.

23 Comments on “Reds

    • I think we still have a ways to count, Eileen! I’m trying to remind myself to enjoy the slowness of March. When spring hits it comes too fast to capture it all.

  1. Jean foe whatever reason, your drawing of the cardinal is coming up as a block of black. No matter what link I use, still comes up black. Janice fleetwood-bean

    • Hi Al- Some of these colors are in the QoR high chroma set. I like their transparency and intensity. The colors in this set are all a bit strong on their own, but they mix beautifully.

  2. I really enjoy your test markers of colors used in your paintings. Hard to believe
    The full range you achieve while only using a few colors. I must say I love how
    You have captured this cardinals head, crown down , very playful. Love it Jean!

  3. A beautiful vibrant bird Jean and sound advice about mixing colours – we should all make more use of what we already have instead of keep buying more…

    • Thanks Michael! It’s just on the cusp of mud season here (only the mud is cover by an inch of snow). Gray skies. You know the experience. So we need cardinals more than ever!

  4. Love the cardinals…..I had 6 at one time in my tree here in Ohio over the weekend! Love your work, as always Jean………so beautiful and inspiring.

  5. Your Cardinal has uber personality, Jean! What an expression! And I feel like you got just the right amount of blue into his red, though I haven’t seen a cardinal in years. 😦
    I love the way you worked the Nickel azo yellow into the painting, in and around the bird, and the “RED” lettering just sings. Wonderful!

    • You write the nicest comments! I’m glad I’ve made some breakthroughs with reds in the last few weeks. Too much blue in the red can sink it, not enough and the painting may be flat. I played with the warm and cool reds here to get the cardinal to take shape. And that yellow- it’s really vibrant, but also transparent. I’ve enjoyed virtually hiking with you in the PNW recently. I’ve been on some of the trails you’ve traveled and it’s nice to go back.

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