Paint the beautiful male Broad-billed Hummingbird that has a dark metallic green body with a blue throat. It is easy to identify with its dark-tipped red bill.
This time we will paint the Broad-billed Hummingbird with oil paints.
Actually I use alkyd paints,
but they look and handle just like oils. They are my favorite painting medium because
all the colors dry overnight with a lovely soft sheen.
What supplies do you need to paint your hummingbird?
This painting is on a 6"x6", 1 1/2" thick gallery-wrap canvas.
The background is going to be yellow. Purple on the bird would complement the yellow background.
There is hardly any purple on the bird. So if you don't want purple on your hummer, there is no need to put it on your palette.
Do the drawing on a separate paper and transfer it to the canvas with graphite paper.
If you are good at drawing, just draw the hummingbird directly on the painting surface with an ordinary #2 pencil.
In this painting the light will come from the upper right.
The underpainting gives us the roadmap of what colors will be used where. Thin the colors with solvent.
This is just the underpainting. We will be adding more paint on top of the underpainting. Then the colors will smooth out.
The two basics of oil painting are;
In a similar manner under paint the background with yellow around the hummingbird.
Use a darker color like purple or blue around the edges of the canvas to help hold the eye in the painting.
Use the same brush and blend white into the underpainting. No solvent with the white, this is the thick layer.
The white blends with the underpainting and the colors will smooth out.
Start painting next to the bird and paint out to the edge and down over the sides of the canvas.
Finish the background before painting the hummingbird.
First I chose lavender, but later changed it to a blue that looked better with the hummingbird.
Gallery wrapped canvas is great because the finished painting does not need a frame.
The hummer is small, so a smaller brush like a 3/8" is good.
Paint the dark colors with a thin layer. Then the next layer of paint will be thicker and it will lie down over the thin layer.
Notice the left of the hummer is darker because it is farther from the light.
The contrast of the light on top of the dark is what makes the iridescent colors shine.
It's fun learning to paint a hummingbird!
In the photo above, it looked like he was wearing a girdle. So I pulled his belly out thicker and added
more tail feathers up at an angle to give him more flare.
A good rule of thumb when you are learning how to paint a hummingbird is to always use the largest brush possible. This gives your painting more freedom. In this case because the details were so small, I switched to a 1/4" brush.
Use white mixed with a speck of blue. White is rarely used straight out of the tube. Always tone it down with a small amount of color.
Always remember when you are painting hummingbirds that many types of hummingbirds have a white patch behind their eye. The male Broad-bill has a subdued white patch.
If the bill is too thick, mix some of the background yellow and use it to trim down the thickness of the bill.
Learning to see with an artist's eye is part of learning how to paint a hummingbird.
In real life the Broad-billed Hummingbird has brownish colored wing feathers. To my artist's eye, brown didn't fit with the rest of the painting. So I changed the wing feathers to a bluish color.
Adding more blue around the edges of the background helped tie the background to the hummingbird.
The individual strokes give the indication of feathers.
Leave to canvas upside down on the easel or lay it on a paper towel to dry the edge of the canvas.
Now you know how to paint a hummingbird with oil paints. Get a canvas or two or three and practice.
We all start somewhere and the more you paint the better your paintings will be.
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