These series of steps taken today outline a work in progress or WIP, beginning with thumbnail sketches in colored pencils. This scene is a commission and has been SOLD.
First step was to draw an odd number of crows and place them in the middle ground, as the cardinal will be in foreground, lower right, and he'll be the automatic center of interest due to his bright plumage. Crows are a mix of first 5 pigments listed above; small areas of the birds were wet then color applied one hue next to the other and let blend. You can see an old white fence in the back as a high horizon line.
Next step is a pale wash of UB and QBO, I painted the areas between white pickets and splashed more in foreground; cardinal will be almost last. Fence texture will be done with drybrush.
Step 3 is the addition of the cardinal and in this detail you can see weathered back fence and inbetween. I've added small dark seeds as they are foraging in winter and are quite hungry. The cardinal doesn't have any seeds to eat and is venturing towards the big guys hoping to peck out a few morsels.
Final step! Quite tricky making sure the crows were larger than the cardinal and a different stance on each one. Slight snow shadows added to ground the birds, and when dry, I splattered a dark mix of paint for tiny seeds. I hope this reads right and that the customer is pleased, as this one was a joy to plan and paint. Crows and Cardinal in Snow 11x15 watercolor, copyright Kay Smith 2013.