A Flash of Color

On a recent visit to my husband’s family in Osceola, Missouri, I caught sight of a brilliant flash of color. As we got closer, I saw a bright, beautiful scarlet tanager. He settled on a nearby branch almost as if saying, “Paint me.”

So, I did. My colors aren’t as vivid as his. I’m still learning how to make bold hues with my watercolors. But I hope you like him. Scarlet

Happy Draw-a-Bird-in-June Day!



    1. Thank you. I’m so happy my little bird is inspiring you. I love birds. I’m glad I’m able to draw them a little better now. My earlier ones were really misshapen!

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    1. I tried to be bolder with the tanager, but the image still falls far short of how brilliant the bird’s colors truly were. I’m going to keep working on “boldness”. That’s becoming my new art mantra. πŸ™‚

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  1. Great image Judith. I think you had a really nice light touch with this one, the different colors and values are nicely in balance in my opinion, and you kept the background in check so the focus is on the bird. I hope you had a good time doing this.

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    1. Thanks. I enjoyed painting the bird, but in the end I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t capture the brilliance of its colors. They’re so beautiful when you see them. Their red wings make such a startling contrast against the green fields of the countryside.


  2. Your comment above was exactly what I was thinking, too, Judith. To make his wings stand out more, put him against a green (or greenish) background (maybe set him against some leaves, you could do another one this way). Green being the opposite (various shades of green, doesn’t have to be grass green necessarily) makes red stand out more.

    But this bird is very delicate. There’s different kinds of feeling in art. Nice!

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    1. Thanks. I was concerned about getting the background too dark. I guess I went too far in the opposite direction. I have a lot of trouble painting backgrounds. Mine always look messy.

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  3. Your painting is fine, but if you want it to be ‘bolder’, I guess you can go a bit more opaque with the bird, then a light green wash for the background. I wouldn’t worry about this painting, though. It’s very light and the hues work quite well. I’d hand it on my wall with a simple, dark walnut frame. Nice work!

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      1. Go for it! There are plenty of ways to make more intense colors like ‘underpainting’ with color pencils and glazing/layering.

        You’re lucky you got a set of Grumbachers from a mystery box. I only won once and it was a stub for a hotdog sandwich.

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      2. There’s no end to learning. I always tell myself, the day I stop learning new things about my craft is the day I’d rather stop doing it. On with the adventure! πŸ™‚

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      3. Oh, at my live online class last night, we started on our ink wash project. We didn’t get too far, though. I hope we finish it up next week. We used a photo of a rocky shoreline as inspiration, but then spent almost the entire hour last night drawing in the rocks. The only wash we did was the sky and a bit of ocean.


      4. That sounds like a fun class and I can tell you’re having a great time. I just bought myself a fresh bottle of India ink and I’m gonna try and do some washes over the weekend (that is, if I finish my animation shots tonight!)

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