get ready to paint
This painting is on a ad - 8x10 Aquabord. It is a sturdy, archival surface for watercolor paintings.
You may certainly use ad - watercolor paper.
Do your watercolor paintings with ad - soft brushes made specifically for painting watercolor.
This painting uses a semi-triad color scheme of yellow, red and green.
All of my watercolor paintings are done with tube watercolors.
- Lemon Yellow or New Gamboge
- Permanent Rose
- Thalo Green or Sap Green
how to paint a hummingbird
Draw the hummingbird on paper and transfer it to the painting surface with ad - graphite paper.
If you are good at drawing, you may do the drawing directly onto the painting surface.
Start painting the green back and beak
- Mix a light yellow-green and start painting on the top edge of the head and body.
- As you move down the head and body, start painting with a darker green (less yellow).
- Put some dark (mix red and green together to make black) on the underside of the chin and just below the wing where there will be a shadow.
- Paint the beak and eye with the same black. Use less water, so the color will be darker.
- Leave the top-side of the beak unpainted and leave a white highlight in the eye.
Darken top of body and highlight the beak
- Before the beak dries, use a damp brush and pull diluted color to the top side of the beak. It appears lighter than the bottom because the light will be hitting the top of the beak.
- Darken the head and body by adding more green.
- If the beak and eye dry too light, add more black.
- Leave a bit of white around the eye to differentiate it from the feathers. Many hummingbirds also have a white patch behind the eye.
Paint the gorget and tail feathers
Now we get to paint where its name came from, the "Ruby-throated Hummingbird".
- Paint his gorget with red.
- Use lighter red near the light and darker red away from the light under his throat. Mix a darker red by adding a bit of its complimentary color - green.
- Put some green out on the tail feathers.
- Add dark to differentiate between the tail feathers. Mix the darker green by adding red.
- Shadow the underside of his belly with a diluted beak color.
Start painting the wings
- Paint the wings with a diluted version of the beak color.
- You may put darker shadows between the feathers.
- An optional way is to paint the wing feathers all the same light color.
- When the color is almost dry, put some lines to indicate the separation of feathers.
- There is some green that goes from the body up into the base of the wing.
Paint the hummer's underside and the flower
- Put some color down onto the body, but leave a white space below the gorget.
- There is also a bit of white under the body just in front of the tail.
- He has a couple of little black feet tucked up under his body.
- Paint the flower with shades of red that match the ruby-throat of the bird.
- The center petals of the flower are light yellow and the shadows are the same grey as the bird's wings.
- Put some green sepals under the flower to tie it together with the green on the hummer
hooray! the painting is finished.
- You may want to put a wash on the background.
- Dampen the area around the bird and flower before applying your chosen background color.
You may put a wash on the background.
now it's your turn!
Now that you know how to paint a hummingbird, you may want to paint a Ruby-throated Hummingbird or one of the other types of hummers.
See photos of the various types of hummingbirds seen in the United States.