When I am caught up on my commissions - which lately does not seem often there is nothing I like to do more than just paint. This is what I preach in my workshops and classes - the more you do it the better you will get.
I use a big brush, in this case a large number 12 Squirrel Hair Quill brush with 8x10 inch paper. After preparing my paint on my palette I spend a few minutes studying a reference image and commit it to memory as much as possible. When I am ready, I load up my brush with as much pigment and water as it can carry and plop it down on the paper, with a few brush strokes I create the general shape of the subject. About 85% of the bird was painted in the process of applying and lifting pigment, something a large mop brush is great at. Once this is dry I went over the painting and added the final details, the shadows, beak, feet and eye. The water droplets are not intentional the brush is literally dripping paint when it is first applied.
Paintings like this do not always work out and that is ok, Saturday when I did this one 3 out of 4 worked out well enough to be "sellable" Not paying to much attention to the reference picture allows me to push the painting in the direction I want it interpreted. Stay tuned for more but first a few pet portraits to keep the lights on!