Reed & Snow Buntings

I painted these two a while ago, and I discovered them again as I was sorting through some of my other art things. Since using the illustrations for the books, I have started using smaller paper so they fit easily in to my scanner, and it is also – sadly – not worth creating ‘saleable’ quality paintings as I don’t prioritise that side of my business, and many of the species are not particularly appealing from a wall art perspective.

As a brief aside, I only really end up selling paintings to people that buy them purely for the aesthetic, not because they are birdwatchers. I have sold a number of triptychs, as in, people have chosen 3, which I also find interesting. I have mentioned before that painting for an illustration in a book for ID purposes is slightly different from painting for wall art, and I do so few exhibitions or art fairs it’s not something I feel needs prioritising. My art practice has changed and evolved since that first experiment in gouache in 2016, and much as I have a great fondness for those first birds, I’m happy that they are now working harder in the books.

Anyway, back to the two illustrations. These are earmarked for my Birds of Christmas logbook which I’m toying with, although I have another potential project coming up in June so I might need to focus on that.

Below are the painting, scan, image editing (rough and fine) and finished images:

Reed Bunting

And here is the Snow Bunting

For those with editing knowledge, it’s not possible to simply click Remove Background as there is too much white and it never manages the feet! So I use the curvature pen tool in Photoshop to mark out the bird which takes a while but definitely gives a good result. I use a standard colour background with all my “blue birds” so there is consistency through the logbooks.

[My sketchbook content is now going to be over on my Patreon – with plenty of free/public access material – so that my website doesn’t get too crowded! Do have a look and follow along if you’re interested in that side of my work.]

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