Tree Swallow Painting Process.

Here are two paintings I did over Spring, and Summer 2018. One is done in pointillism while the other one is a normal painting using a lot of glazes and transparencies.

Tree Swallow Acrylic Painting, 2018

In this version I started with thick paint, and then slowly moved on to thinner and thinner glazes. I added a lot of subtle colours in the white of the bird. This painting took 14 Hours total.


Tree Swallow Pointillism, 2018

In this version I started with my drawing of the Tree Swallow, and started adding dots of colours, I added many different colours  within each colour area and built it up. This painting took 20 Hours Total. I am not 100% satisfied with how the photo turned out since it seems more luminous in real life but I really think this painting turned out well.

Juvenile Tree Swallow, 2016

Here is the photo I used in the painting. It was taken on a camping trip in July of 2016. I was able to get very close to this bird because it was immature, and not too fearful. You can see the interesting colour combination in the bird with slate grey and white. Since this bird was a juvenile it had different colours than the adult which is a shiny green colour.


Tree Swallow Drawing

I started with a drawing in pencil, then transferred it to the canvas by putting graphite on the back of the paper and pressing it into the canvas with a pencil. When doing this technique it is very important to make sure that the paper doesn’t shift as it will distort the drawing below. By tracing the drawing it will ensure the best possible proportions on the canvas. I only do this when working from my own drawings and photos to ensure there is no copyright issues.


The photos below are the working versions of these paintings. For the first one you can see I blocked in the main colours of the bird. I also added some texture to the white area of the bird. The beak is a light yellow colour and there is a small lighter grey spot near the eye. The drawing isn’t perfect especially with the claws, but I will come back to that later.

Tree Swallow, Version 1


In this version of the painting I really focused on the beak, and the eye adding several layers to the eye to give the bird life. I also added more layers to the background and refined the drawing a bit especially on the shoulder of the bird, and worked on the claws. I also added a few thin downy feathers on the back of the neck that is sticking out. This photo was taken 4.5 Hours into the painting.

Tree Swallow, Version 2


In the final version, I added some more feather texture to the shoulder/ wing and made the claws even wider to get them looking right. I also added more glazes to the bird on the white and slate grey areas. I also added moss to the branches. Overall I am very satisfied with how this painting turned out. Perhaps I made the background too bright but think it works. This photo was taken 9 Hours into the painting.


Tree Swallow Acrylic Painting, 2018


Here is the process for the Pointillism Painting. In this version, I started with my drawing, then started adding colour. You can see the bird taking shape, but it still doesn’t have a lot of detail. This version is 4.5 Hours into the painting. You can see I haven’t added much colour to the branches yet, but will do that in the next version.

Tree Swallow Pointillism, Version 1



In this version I worked on the branches, the eye, and the claws. You can see I layered a lot more colour into the painting, and it is slowly progressing. This photo was taken at 10 Hours into the painting.

Tree Swallow Pointillism, Version 2


In this version, I continued working. I tried to refine all the edges so that they stand out and also worked a lot more on the eye. I used even smaller dots, especially in the detailed areas. I layered the background more building up the colours to create more of a continous tone of dots as opposed to a stippled (dotted effect) I also added some bright primary colours to the white part of the bird. The final photo was taken 20 Hours into the painting when it was finished.

Tree Swallow Pointillism, 2018



I hope you enjoyed the process I went through to create these 2 paintings. I will have more paintings to post on here this winter.

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