Painting a Wood Duck in Watercolours

This beautiful example of a duck is as much a pleasure to paint as to behold.

I drew in the outline, of the duck and the reflection, and also the outlines of all the white areas on the duck.

This is a fantastic palette to work to, the whole of the colour spectrum.

I started painting the head first, for obvious practical reasons. I mixed three different green colours, I mixed a variety of purple colours, from those with a red bias and then those with a blue bias. I also mixed a really dark purple using purple lake and Payne’s grey. The green colour on the back of the duck is olive green and a good way to mix this colour is to use yellow ochre and Payne’s grey, makes a wonderful olive green.

I painted the greens on the head first, wet on wet, as I wanted some of them to mingle slightly. I used a bright orange and a yellow undercoat for the beak. I used my dark purple for the other areas on the head, side of body and the shadow cast at the back of the duck. I used a graded wash technique to paint the breast of the duck. I painted in the lightest tone of purple lake, and painted on three further layers of the purple lake, using stronger tones of the paint as I worked. I used yellow ochre mixed with lemon yellow for the yellow area on the side of the duck.

I painted in the eye using a cadmium red, some of which I mixed with light red for the edge of the eye. I replicated all the colours on the reflection of the duck, all the time, bearing in mind to keep the white areas white.

Once I had completed the duck, I painted in a light wash of ultramarine blue all over the background, and increased the tone on parts of it, to suggest areas of light and dark. Lastly, I painted in the area on the water, where the duck had made ripples from putting his head underwater.

A lovely way to practice using all the spectrum colours.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.