The red-breasted robin, scientifically known as Erithacus rubecula is also known as European Robin is a very cute bird measuring hardly 5.0 to 5.5 inches. Both the male and female in similar in coloration and have an orangy colored feather on the breast. Except for the orange colored feathers on the breast, the whole bird has bluish gray feather all over the body and slightly darker brownish wings. So, here is my palette for the whole painting.
My Color Palette:
My palette for this whole painting consists of Burnt Umber, Cobalt Blue, Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Raw Umber, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Permanent Orange and Zinc White.
I am using No. 10 & 6 hog hair brushes and No. 6 Round Hog hair along with a couple of rigger brushes for some detailing. Moreover, I am using two torn out brushes for painting the feathers. It works wonder when painting feathers. I am not using any fan brushes for drawing feathers, which is generally an ideal choice for many artists to draw feathers and furs.
Preparing The Canvas:
Though I am using a pre-primed canvas for this little painting, I have applied the first coat of Burnt Sienna before proceeding to sketch. It helps me achieve two things. First to hide the previous sketching that I have practiced for some other project and secondly a base coat to start with the painting.
Application Of The First Layer:
I have applied a quick layer of slightly darker grayish paint all over the bird body using White, Ultramarine Blue and some Raw Umber. For the breast areas, I have applied some Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber and White for this time.
Working With Feathers:
This time I am using the round hog hair brush to paint the feathers with some lighter colors than the previous darker gray base color. It is not necessary always to draw each and every feather individually. The use of a torn out brush always works wonders.
Working With The Background:
Till now I am using almost the same color for the background as well. But I will adjust it later with other colors over it to create the depth. Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Umber, and little Crimson work just fine to achieve the dark eye color of the bird. A little white over it defines its reflection.
Creating The Depth of Field:
This is the time to add some detailing to the painting. I have used a rigger brush to work on the wing linings, legs, and beak of the bird. In this stage, I prefer to apply a thin coat of slightly brownish color to the wings to differentiate the color difference from the rest of the body. A little Burnt Umber, Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, and White works fine for this purpose.
As some parts of the branches of the tree have the same focus along with the bird and others are far away, it gives the painting a shallow depth of field. To achieve this effect, I just painted little background colors over the distance bounces randomly.
As I have mentioned above, I have played with the background now with some glazing here and there with some other colors like yellowish green on the lower part of the bird and more darker colors above the head to give the bird a contrasting feel. Moreover, the addition of some white over the highlighted parts of the tree twigs along with some yellowish patches gives its unique parasite dominant look of the tree.
All darker shades over the bird body are now applied by glazing with some darker colors like Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Umber, Crimson.
You can notice that I have left some of the background areas as it was because it gives the painting a just completed look.