Class Notes: Painting Birds

In the New Year, my class focused on painting birds.  Many of my class painters are birders and the subject has become a bit of a passion. As I write this - I am thinking of many painter friends who are serious bird painters - and I give them all respect.  I would never put my self in the "serious" category but I sure have had fun.
In class we have studied, practiced and painted what we are learning:  bird anatomy, how it affects movement in a given situation,  - but also honing painting skills of design, negative painting, simplifying shapes and directing the viewers eye.
After all, the painting IS the end goal and even perfect draftsmanship does not guarantee that.
The pieces shown here are class demos and the top one is actually painted over an old landscape of trees.  In the upside down version (at the bottom) you can clearly see the previous painting. I find it fascinating how the eye believes what it sees in context.
The second painting was an exercise in negative painting. We sketched in the Magpie first and then painted shapes in white, directly over the under painting, to created the illusion of branches and distance.