Bird in the Bush

This is a quick installment to show how lack of planning and poor decision-making can result in a less-than-ideal painting. However, we are creatures who learn from our mistakes, and so this experience has wizened me a little bit. More on that in a second.


This is the finished piece. It lacks pizzazz and anything of the sort that would make you think about it or look closer. Altogether a forgettable painting to a passerby, but the things I learned from making it are quite the opposite.

Firstly, there are just a few things I like about it. So, starting with the good: the slight gradation in color to illuminate the subject is nice, as are some of the places of negative painting you can make out among the periphery. And that is about all I think is OK about this one.

Then, the list of things that are subpar in this one:

  • The granulation of the Ultramarine Blue I used introduced unwanted, crazy texture that is distracting and not so great for layering to achieve nice negative spaces.
  • I did not reserve the white of my paper nearly as well as I should have.
  • The composition is not at all apparent, and much too jumbled with no real easy way to tell what the point of this piece is.
  • Just doesn’t appeal to me, at all.


This piece could have been much improved by taking a few extra steps beforehand, which did produce an appreciably nicer painting of a Bird of Paradise. You can read about that in the link.

The few steps I could have taken beforehand:

  • Should have taken the time to draw a few value studies to get that straight. Maybe it would have helped me to increase the contrast and maybe salvaged the painting.
  • Could have used some masking fluid to better preserve my whites.
  • Could have decided to paint something I was more passionate about.
  • Could have chosen a better color combination ahead of time with little color swatches to either alleviate upcoming issues or prevent them altogether.
  • Could have started with a lighter preliminary wash – much easier to alter those.

As always, there are always lots of “could’a, should’a and would’a” to go around. But, most of things in life follow that pattern, we can just lessen then number. It is always important to make our mistakes count and learn from them. As you can see, you always need to step back and see what you can improve on.

This is one of three posts I am writing this Christmas morning from the comfort of my couch, surrounded by family, sipping hot chocolate and after watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” followed by “Holiday Inn.”

Check out my other posts from today: Bird of Paradise and Under the Tree.


Keep painting, and as my Grandpa always says, “There’s always room for improvement.” Merry Christmas everyone!



2 thoughts on “Bird in the Bush

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