Watercolor: House Finch & Freesia

floral still life watercolor with a bird

House Finch & Freesia 22 x 22 Floral Still Life Watercolor on paper (sold)

Reference Photos for Artists

Several times a year, I set up still life vignettes to use as reference material in watercolor paintings. This watercolor is from one of those sessions. If you’ve never created a catalog of scenes to paint, give it a try.  Gather things around your home that might be fun to paint, and pick up some flowers at the grocery store, or grab a bouquet from your garden (even better). You can use sheets, fabric swatches, wrapping paper or table cloths to cover a flat surface, and arrange your collected items on the cloth near a window to get beautiful reflections and soft shadows. 
using a mirror to reverse a painting

Checking for areas that need adjustment by looking at the art reversed in the mirror

Painting a bird in watercolor – a little house finch

Use the Camera in your Phone

You don’t need a DSLR camera to get great photos to use for watercolor paintings.The camera on your phone will work fine.  Just make sure you’re in a bright spot in your house. If you don’t have a bright spot, set a table up outside, or put one on the threshold of your front or back door, wide open, to get light streaming in across your collected objects. Take lots of photos, from all different angles, and when you look at them as thumbnails, you’ll see painting inspiration to last you for months!

audiobooks in the art studio

The map of South America on the right of my work was reference for the audio book The Path Between the Seas – The Creation of the Panama Canal (1870-1914)  by David McCullough, which was fantastic.

Using a Grid to lay in a drawing for a watercolor

Laying a grid on my paper to get an accurate drawing down before painting, with a little dessert on the side to make the process more fun. 🙂

How do you find painting reference material? Leave any tips or tricks you’d like to share in the comments below.
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you in the next post!

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Art Quote
One can always acquire the additional knowledge and information that go into the production of a work of art, but – and I insist on this point – no will, no perseverance, no obstinacy during one’s later years, can ever make good a lack of practice. And is there any anguish like that of the artist who feels the realization of his dream compromised by the impotence of his execution?
~William Bouguereau 1885

How to name your art

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12 Responses to Watercolor: House Finch & Freesia

  1. Pat November 30, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

    Such a beautiful painting, Belinda.

  2. Belinda Del Pesco April 15, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    @Nan, hello there my friend! Thanks so much for the lovely comment, and any time I can make your heart sing is a really good day, so thanks for making mine!

  3. Belinda Del Pesco April 15, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

    @Celia – Thanks, and I would say the same of your work too. Your colors all sing FUN together. 🙂

  4. Belinda Del Pesco April 15, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    @Don – Thank you, my friend. It means a lot coming from you. 🙂

  5. Belinda Del Pesco April 15, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

    @Roseann – thanks so much for topping by and leaving such a kind comment. 🙂

  6. RoseAnn Hayes April 13, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    This one just blows me away, Belinda. Every single element – the finch, the flowers, the vase, the everything – you’re Amazing!

  7. Nan April 8, 2013 at 3:32 am #

    I love it when you paint this way Belinda! You made my heart sing when I saw this today!
    Love the tip of listening to audio books while painting! 🙂

  8. Barbara Muir April 7, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    Love this big time. Wonderful.

    XOXOXO Barbara

  9. Celia Blanco April 6, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    You make it an enjoyable process and it comes through, so beautiful!

  10. Don Gray April 6, 2013 at 8:38 am #

    A stunning painting, Belinda–beautifully done! Good luck at Artwalk.

  11. Cristiane Marino April 5, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    Wonderful Belinda! This painting is amazingly beautiful.
    What a delicious time you’ve had…
    Have a nice weekend!

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