I have been watching these fascinating geese every time I visit the park, since they landed in the park in February. Their colours are eye catching, and change with the differing lights. They now have 8 little chicks, which are growing at an amazing rate. They have captured my imagination and therefore they make a wonderful study for me to paint and draw.

I worked from a photograph that I took on 12th April, mid afternoon. It is very nice to sketch birds but in my experience they move too fast to make a painting from the sketch. The sun was quite bright so there are some good cast shadows in the painting.

The 8 little chicks all have exactly the same markings as each other. The male and female geese both have exactly the same markings as each other too, however, I have noticed that different light does have a great bearing on the colours of their markings.

I used mixed media including:- acrylics, watercolours, waterproof pens, graphite and craft enamel paint.

I started by drawing in the shapes of the geese and chicks, the shadows and the shapes of the greenery on the edge of the lake.

The colour of water – if you see blue, paint it blue. There was a lot of blue reflected in the water from the sky above but also lots of greens from the trees on the far side of the lake.

I painted in the chicks first using a variety of brown colours that I had mixed. I also used a permanent fine line sepia pen to mark in the beaks and some of the lines on the chicks. The cast shadows are first a wash of light brown acrylic, which I overlaid, when 100% dry, with a pthalo blue. Once the chicks were painted, I painted in the greenery. I really enjoy mixing colours, especially browns and greens, because the results are endless. The amount of these colours you can mix is really up to you, experiment mixing a base green with any other colour you have mixed in your own palette, or colours straight from tubes, in varying degrees of proportion to the amount of green. When painting green foliage, start with a layer of yellow first. Then work from light green to dark greens, the more variety of colours the better. This will give your painting 3D effect, using one or two colours often does not reach the level of depth you can achieve. Once painted, I used a sepia permanent pen to make some contour lines on a selection of the shapes.

For the foreground: I underpainted the whole area with flesh tint, to which I had added a small proportion of green. I then painted in the parents, starting with Mum who is the goose on the right of the painting. The Dad goose makes a lot of noise, telling the chicks to run whenever he senses any kind of danger. These geese do not seem to mind humans standing relatively close to them without alarming them. They do attract an audience in the park!

For the geese I used a variety of browns, greens, chromatic blacks, blue, pink, red, yellow (the eye) and sepia pens for the toes. I used three different brushes, from large to very small, and a variety of different brush strokes. I used some gold craft enamel on the feathers on the backs to give them the slight shine these geese have.

The body of water: a light wash of blue overlaid with quick brush strokes of blue and greens. I then finished the foreground. I added some brown mixes (washes, quick small brushstrokes of greens), and then painted in the shadows cast by the greenery.