Chipping Sparrow Painting: Transparent Watercolor and Time-lapse Video

Chipping Sparrow 7x10 inch Transparent Watercolor

Chipping Sparrow 7×10-inch Transparent Watercolor

Chipping Sparrow (Detail) 7x10 inch Transparent Watercolor

Chipping Sparrow (Detail from 7×10-inch Transparent Watercolor)

Seeing the first Chipping Sparrow each spring puts a big smile on my face. These little guys always seem to be happy little bundles of energy. I’m sure they have nested on our spruce trees at some point, but I’ve never spied the nests. Their calls remind me of little sewing machines pumping away.

I got some great reference shots of Chipping Sparrows in our backyard. I chose to paint this one on a somewhat outrageous pink background instead of the sedate blurred green of my reference photo. It seemed like this would be a bit more dramatic, even though I’d be giving up some realism. I think it was worth it. Fall and spring are exciting times of year when you have the impression of being enveloped in crazy colors. Playing around with those intense pinks and purples sure is fun! This painting is a bit unusual because the subject is about the only thing on the page without saturated colors.

One of the most frequent questions artists get is, “How long did that take?” My timelapse video  compressed almost 9 hours of painting into about 8 minutes. The time spent painting the bird was relatively short compared to the background, flowers and branch. This doesn’t include the time spent taking reference photos and doing sketches from those. The drawings alone probably took another two to three hours. The main sketch can be seen in this post.

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