My piano teacher keeps chickens and has had an amazing calendar of prize chickens on her wall all year, which she promised to save for me, and as she gave it to me last week, I thought I would attempt to paint this proud and gloriously coloured cockerel.
I decided to work on my biggest block of Fabriano Artistico Extra White 300g paper, but discovered that on the block in use, there were only 2 pieces left and they had become detached from the cardboard backing. As I intended to use some fair quantities of water and wet-in-wet, for the background which I was going to paint first, I separated the two sheets and stretched one of them in the traditional way onto a piece of MDF board. I did not want the paper to buckle and result in the washes filling the undulations to leave the background streaky. Even with stretching, the paper sometimes buckles whilst very wet, so I needed to keep a close eye on the paint, but at least it becomes taut again on drying.
I then mixed up a background wash, keeping it fairly pale so that the strong colours of the cockerel would be contrasted against it, and let it dry. I then drew the cockerel together with a bit of imaginative background, and had a go at painting him. Not easy to paint feathers without getting in to too much detail, but I did my best and was able to use some of the lovely orange and brown that Peter talked about in his recent blog (www.watercolourfanatic.blogspot.com) He was once again generous to give me a blob of the Translucent Brown which he has recently acquired. It gave some lovely granulated under-belly tones.
The blue tail feathers used the darkest of blues....Anthraquinone Blue by Graham and Paynes Grey, and the turquoise bits in the middle are Cobalt Teal Blue from Daniel Smith.