How to Paint Feathers?

Posted by on Feb 5, 2013 in How To Paint | No Comments
How to Paint Feathers?

I started using my cell phone camera for taking photos of my paintings as I paint and  I have a lot of pictures of paintings in the making. I thought it might be fun to do a few short articles on How To, paint whatever.

This Post is about feathers. I’m finishing up a painting of eagles resting in a tree after a snow storm. These guys have such intricate feathers I thought it best to take extra time with my drawing. I spent an hour an a half drawing each bird and the time was worth it.

Wildlife Art & Photography by: Laura CurtinDetail from “Eagles Warming in the Sun” by Wildlife Art by: Laura Curtin

I used a #8 Escoda bright to block in the feathers. The drawing came in really handy at this point to keep the feathers in order. One of the most challenging things about painting birds is how perfect the feathers lay along the body of the bird. I always end up counting feathers to make sure I don’t leave out one or add extras.

Wildlife Art & Photography by: Laura CurtinDetail from “Eagles Warming in the Sun” by Wildlife Art by: Laura Curtin

Next is defining the feathers, covering up white, adding shadows and highlights. I did a complete recover of the feathers I’d already painted with the same Escoda #8 brush. The second coat of paint gives the feathers substance. I try to really figure out the way the feathers lay on top and next to each other. I use Detail Master DMS 1000 Yasumoto brushes for the fine detail work. I start outlining the individual feathers and shafts with a #0 Detail Master brush. Using the same brush I highlight the tips of the feathers and shadow where the feathers overlap. Many of my detail brushes are old and split, perfect for painting the edges of the feathers.

Wildlife Art & Photography by: Laura CurtinDetail from “Eagles Warming in the Sun” by Wildlife Art by: Laura Curtin

This is the finished feathers. There are three of these beautiful Bald Eagles in this painting and hundreds of feathers.

Wildlife Art & Photography by: Laura CurtinDetail from “Eagles Warming in the Sun” by Wildlife Art by: Laura Curtin

Well that’s the steps I use to paint feathers. I do have some more interesting photos of the development of the barn owl feathers in the painting “Evening Hunt” maybe next time.

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Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary
http://foreverwildexotics.org/

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