skip to Main Content
Looking Round

With too many other things going on in my life, I haven’t painted lately.


Today I decided I’d get busy and do something – something simple, preferably. This is it, “Looking Round”, a little painting of a magpie newly landed on an old fencepost. Magpies are plentiful where I live. As a matter of fact, I can hear one scolding a passing cat right now, on the other side of my back fence.

Gold and blue

I abstracted the background of autumnal trees, suggesting them with a loose wet-in-wet wash of Gold Ochre, which is a favourite colour of mine. The term ‘wet-in-wet’ refers to wet watercolour paint dropped into a coat of clean water, by the way – it makes the paint spread out nicely in a random way.

I was hoping the Gold Ochre would provide a good contrast to the electric blue plumage on the bird’s back. I’m fond of placing orange hues next to blue ones. The trouble is, Winsor & Newton (whose paints I use) don’t have a colour called Electric Blue. I mixed up a puddle of French Ultramarine, Prussian Blue and Phthalo Turquoise and that combination seemed to approximate the shade I wanted.

I’m not what you’d call a fast painter. However, I managed to complete this one in a couple of hours, including drying time, a break for coffee, etc. As a final touch, I splattered some Gold Ochre in the background, to help suggest a bit of movement.

The tonic I needed

“Looking Round” was just the tonic I needed, as I’ve been feeling jaded lately. I was thinking I ought to get out of my comfort zone for a change. Since I don’t paint birds or animals much, a magpie seemed right. And I enjoyed the abstract treatment of the background, too – a nod towards a more experimental style of painting. I hope you like it.

Unframed watercolour painting. Size 5.5 x 7.5 inches / 14 x 19 centimetres.

Back To Top