Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Painting a bird nest - 101

Below is a, How to Paint a Bird's Nest tutorial, from May 2008. If you've always wanted to paint you should try this. The step by step instructions will guide you through the process and make it simple. Happy painting!

Wow! This morning when I announced that today I would teach the first Tuesday Tutorial, I had no earthly idea what I was getting into! It only took 30 minutes to paint the painting and 4 hours to post about it! So if you enjoy this let me know.... for it may be the last Tuesday Tutorial!

So, let's get started. We've got a bird nest to paint! That's right! A really simple, yet lovely bird's nest. Real one's are kind of dirty but ours will be nice and clean! Whenever I paint, I
like to start with a photo. Our finished painting will look different, but the photo will serve as a guide. I studied it a lot while painting the one below.

OK! Here's what you'll need to get started. A few paper towels, container of water, a small canvas board (mine is an 8 x 8 - Ebay), 2 brushes - 1" flat, small # 8 round and the following colors:

Now pour yourself a glass of sweet tea and let's paint!

Squirt a little of each color onto a plastic or disposable plate. I'll be using a deviled egg plate because it's cute and it works! Now pick up your big brush, dip into the Sea Foam and quick as you can cover your canvas with paint.

Then with a dab of Sky Blue on your dirty brush, paint a blue spot in the middle of the canvas.

Wipe your brush, not wash...on a paper towel until dry, and dip into Raw Umber.

Now scrub with the corner of the big brush, the dark brown color around the blue spot. The paint should be dry and scruffy. Press hard and scrub! The dirty blue brush and brown paint with turn into a medium shade of brown! Then dip back into the Raw Umber and using more paint, brush color onto the inside of the nest. Reducing the blue spot, making it smaller in size and turning it into the 'egg' (below rt.). Continue, and brush a little of the thicker brown

color onto the bottom and little more on the bottom right and a few other places ( above rt.).
As you can see, the form has now changed into a crude nest. Wash your brush. Lay it aside.
Pick up the # 8 round brush and mix a little water, small amount of Teddy Bear Tan into some Raw Umber to make a little lighter, medium brown. Using the tip of the brush, paint long thin ( light pressure) strokes to create the first layer of sticks and straw.

Continue across the front of nest, then a few inside the nest. Let your 'straw-like'

strokes extend out over the edges of the nest, making the nest appear mor loose and 'stick'y!

Using the same brush and same strokes, continue to create another layer of straw, by adding a little Pebblebrook and a little water to your medium brown color. Which will lighten up the brown and create a little more contrast. Place first on the top edge of the nest/opening of the nest, putting more on the left side.

Continue down the left side and slightly across the front, using more light on the left...fewer light strokes on the right (below).
Using the same brush add to this color, a little warm white which will give you the lightest color yet...

Add a few more light strokes! On second thought, I want to try something real quick! Grab a gift or credit card and a disposable plate. Mix up a larger amount of this light color and scooping it onto the edge of the card, make some long thin grass-like strokes, again keeping the left side lighter.

Our nest is really beginning to take shape. Just a few more details and we'll be finished.
With the same brush, dip back into the Raw Umber and reinforce a few of the darker spots on

on the front and lower right. It's all of these little light and dark lines that make this nest look

The last thing we need to do is add a little highlight to the egg. So clean your brush and dry it on Paper toweling. Mix a little Sea Foam into a little Sky Blue together and lightly brush along the top edge of the egg. See how that little bit of light makes the egg look more rounded and real?

Quickly wash out your little brush and using a little Raw Umber and more water. Mix a thin dark brown, twist your brush into a point, draw on your initial and ....'re finished! Congratulations!!! How did you do? Was it fun?

Feel free to ask any questions and please let me know what you think! I'd love to see photo's! Email them to and I will post them!


Nancy Elaine said...

Wow, I can't wait to set aside some time to try this. I painted my first bird nest 2 years ago and every time I look at it I think it looks more like an afro than a nest! I certainly could use your help. Thank you, Thank you , Thank you!

molly said...

OH my gosh I think I might could do this!!! In between sewing, gardening, working... I can't wait to paint my first painting... Lets do this again!! Maybe every 2 weeks?? It will give us time to really do it. LOve the idea!!

Anonymous said...

I'm a fan of yours and I love all your paintings. I will have to give this a try. Hopefully I will not butcher it.

Fawn Hamilton said...

LOVE IT!! I think every two weeks is perfect like Molly said. I cant wait to see more!

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Your spirit shines through your blog.

Halo Hill said...

OH MY GOSH! Are you EVER talented!! How does your mind do that?? (Or your hands)? I am so amazed! I am positively going to try this! That doesn't mean I don't want to win the gorgeous nest you made, I do!

Hugs for the happy post and tutorial!


Terri Brush Designs said...

Love your TUTORIAL! I hope you share more..

Brandy Faulkner said...

How sweet you are to teach us!! I can't wait to try it.


Erin said...

Hi there! I didn't get your email but I thought I would leave you a comment on a good place to eat...The Grill. 5769 Sherwood Way.

Good luck at the game!

Annemarie said...

Okay, I did it. It's not near as wonderful as yours, but I would not expect it to be. I am pleased with it, and had fun doing it, even though I have some "thick sticks". Thank you for all the time you put into these instructions! I had a blast!

Fat Juicy Art said...

Love it! I "shared" on Facebook so my friends might find you too! Please keep offering tutorials!

Shotgun said...

What a great lesson. It was perfect. I added it to a devotional I wrote about Nests. Hope that is OK with you. Thank you for the effort.


Anonymous said...

I painted 4 of them; one right after the other. So much fun and they came out (surprisingly) well. Thanks for the directions

Armando Iswahyudi said...

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All the best for all your blogging efforts.

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