Watercolor spring bird paint along

Spring bird on pink blossom branch watercolor paint along tutorial demo

Hello all my friends. It is a very nice sunny day here in Utah and I had fun painting with window opened this morning. The snow were melting and so you can hear water running down the street but the roads are clear and we have a lot of water landed on the garden. It has been a very hard year, and it was hard on the apple tree last year, it was very unhappy. Not that we can harvest any apples because we have to go on a big trim first, but it was still sad saw it struggling. This winter on top of last summer, I am very fearful for my peonies too. I hope they are getting enough moisture, the pansies they planted at BYU campus are looking super sad, they are lacking the snow cover to keep them warm. We struggle and struggle here, not that easy for us to have big blooms unless we are willing to load on the water. Couple years ago, we took a lot of free flowers home from a neighbor and I potted all of them, I used so much water that my water bill went really high. I don’t want to do that again, so exercise self restrain this year, maybe just one pot of annuals and trying to keep the iris and peonies alive. Do you guys like a lot of flowers around your home? I guess not very many people do not like flowers. Apart from the water problems we also have unfriendly deers eating many flowers, they don’t like peonies though which is happy for me. I just post some pictures for you when the peonies bloom. I usually go to thrift store and get a bunch of vases and give them out to neighbors. I really like them to be cheered up and it made me happy. I can’t use all the peonies really.

So today we have this fun spring bird to paint along. I design this one because it is more lively, in the Chinese discipline of painting birds, the birds are almost mean. They are always opening their mouths, but this one is not, she is just trying to announce the almost arrival of spring, I would hope to think she is excited rather than mean. I know that chickadees are very friends birds. If I have to put a name on this bird it will be a house sparrow, but it really is one out of my imagination. Once a while I do painting and drawings like this. Without photo reference, so I can be more free and put some personality in them. There is another one, her friend green bird and he is coming up for paint along really soon.

In this painting I tried to do two layers so as to show you how easy it can be done. And mainly to impress upon your mind that it is a good thing to be lighter on our touch. Two to three layer of watercolor will not make a painting too muddy or busy. But sometimes, even I like to pile on more in order to save my mistake, but mistakes maybe better than muddiness in watercolor I think. So I count and watch myself a lot and I hope you like it. Also I spend a little long to show you how I paint branches for birdies to sit on, that is a formula that I discovered that works and I have been painting that way for years. When you watch the video you can see that it is fun to do branches. And of course we don’t forget the form of a cylinder, and all will be well. This painting I used Arches watercolor, in the original painting I actually used Strathmore watercolor paper, 140 lbs I think. They are machine made paper, instead of handmade, and only 20 percent cotton. However if we only try to do two layers, those are very good watercolor paper to use. For a long time I used that, and I got used to it and try not to muddy up the painting, maybe it was a good practice paper for me. The background are very minimum, I try to add some darker tone underneath the branch to support the bird, otherwise it is very simple, and I hope you had fun painting.

My daughter, Elissa, who lived in texas was here past week, she came to Utah county for the writer’s conference, and she like to try yearly. But this year she came alone so she can attend more classes. She had a lot of fun. She also pushed her book an little, I talked about her book a little bit in the next painting. And we thought we may want to rent out an artist booth so I can go paint on the booth and sell some painting, and she can share her desk with me and she can talk about her writing. We hope we can do it next year, that would be a lot of fun. Can you imagine, me painting in public. If you guys live closed by do come, but I will let you know when it gets closer and we really are going to do it. She actually talked to her teacher, Brandon Sanderson, I talked about that in my next video, the spring green bird. Do you guys like to read books, maybe sometimes we can talk about some good books during my painting.

Ok, thank you for stopping by, I will talk to you guys soon. love, Kathy


  • Lynda

    Hi Kathy,
    Thanks so much for creating this tutorial. I painted along, and I must say that I was delighted. You are a fabulous teacher, so patient, and you take your time and explain everything so well. You made me feel relaxed, which I rarely am when taking a tutorial. I just needed to let you know how much I enjoy your work. you are a very accomplished artist, and I have been learning from following you on YouTube. Here is a link to my blog post, where I have posted my painting from this tutorial. I gave you full credit, and linked to your post from mine. https://paperartscafe.blogspot.com/2022/06/little-bird-on-branch-watercolor.html
    Thanks again, Kathy. You are a blessing to me!

    • kathy

      Thank you Lynda for your link! Isn’t that fun!!! I am so glad you try it! And thank you for giving me credit I love that! You have talents keep going! Love Kathy

  • Jackie

    You are amazing, talented and generous to those who follow you. I am a beginner and your style is exactly what I want to paint😀. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting long, detailed tutorials and sketches to use for them. When I discovered you and what you offer, I felt like I won the watercolour lottery 💕

  • susie

    Hi Kathy,
    I just watched this wonderful tutorial and will paint the little birdie tomorrow. Just wanted to ask if you used Strathmore cold press on the painting you demonstrated? You mentioned you used Strathmore on the previous painting of the bird that you briefly showed towards the end of the video so I was a bit confused.
    Your teaching style is so detailed and full of great information. I am so glad I found you. This is the second video I have watched….partial to birds!

    • kathy

      I used to use strathmore yes, but for the youtube video I don’t think I did. I am old and hard to remember. I am currently using stonehendge cold press, I found that it fits me well. But then I don’t make too many mistakes so I am very easy on papers. I don’t scrub papers to erase mistakes that is what I mean. I am so glad you are here, I hope you have fun. I love painting birds so we will have lots to come. And bigger birds too. Thankyou.

  • Marie

    Hi Kathy I am very new to watercolour and have just come across your utube channel I am so happy that I did just loved this tutorial you make it all so easy to follow and fun, can’t wait to get started n the next one thank you so much

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