The Bunting, Painted


Up Jumped Summer-Painted Bunting in Cannas. Strong light, warm colors, tropical fervor- Oklahoma!

Here is Painted Bunting v1.0; for all intents and purposes he’s done. I am letting him sit overnight to percolate and so that I can get a look in the morning with a fresher eye and check for corrections. I still am working on the String Bean Bunting (almost done), and the Daylily Bunting is resting on the table as well. That one requires a different color palette, so when these two are done, that one begins.

Detail from painting. Some kind of fancy bird, eh?

I wish I could have days like this all the time- I worked on five paintings simultaneously and finished three. That’s efficiency! I felt so good I pulled an old nocturne of two Barred owls from its frame and with some judicious application and lifting refreshed and renovated it. I spent about an hour fixing bad anatomy, bad perspective, overly tight brushwork, edges so sharp I got a paper cut just looking at them, weird color choices and so on. The piece is over 12 years old, so I have some sort of (lame, temporal) excuse for all the plain badness. I’ll post it later.


The spray bottle got a workout today. Note that I label every color, or I’ll forget what I have in the palette. I use a large plastic palette with deep wells and a central flat mixing area, and squeeze out an entire tube of watercolor paint into each well where it dries into a cake. It gets rewetted with the spray bottle every time I paint.

Right after New Years I celebrated by tearing apart my studio, which is by now a yearly rite, and threw away four trash bags full of awful drawings and horrid paintings generated by me over way too many years. What a rush, what pleasure it was crumpling and tossing! How liberating it felt! Everything is now nicely organized and clean and spacious, and I even found a few relatively decent unfinished paintings, including this one I couldn’t resist finishing up. Finished up today, in fact, and titled as follows…


“Throw Back the Little Ones”- Koi and Snowy Egret, watercolor 21.5″x15.75″

Also finished today is a cottontail bunny, commissioned by a gentleman in California who is giving it to his young niece.

Sweet Geraniums- cottontail rabbit, watercolor, 10″x8″

It seems to be time for me to clean up, chuck out, and take care of old business. I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a sense of closure and completion, or who thinks they might be having their mid-life crisis, sans red Ferrari or worse. Now I can begin something new and fresh. Where this goes is anyone’s guess. But, dang, I hope this keeps up- I might get something done if it does!

12 thoughts on “The Bunting, Painted

  1. 100swallows says:

    Wonderful, zeladoniac! After a day like that how could you sleep? I’m glad you recovered the bunny in the geraniums and the egret.
    You show us your brush, but only you can do all those nice things with it. No naturalist paintings I ever saw were so full of warm sunlight and beautiful colors.

  2. Janet Wilkins says:

    I just LOVE the egret and the bunny paintings. So natural! I’m leaving “judgment” on the bunting paintings until I see all three but, no doubt, they will all be just as beautiful as the two paintings (and the cannas/bunting painting) you just finished!

  3. emmacaco says:

    Found your blog while searching for articles and posts on drawing birds, and you’ve got really beautiful work. It’s great to see what you’re working on and your process – the spray-bottle trick is a good one!

  4. Pica says:

    Wow Zeladoniac, fantastic work. I’m inspired by your cleanout, definitely can use that sort of inspiration!

    You said you had a large file of sketches of plants and birds. How do you organize it for fast retrieval?

  5. zeladoniac says:

    I have a beautiful flatfile with 9 drawers hand made from some fine-grained wood, an antique- I lucked out by finding it in a junk store years ago for almost nothing, and it’s traveled with me ever since. I have big print sleeves stuffed with pencil sketches laid flat together in one drawer, and large drawings in folios in another. I can usually find what I need pretty fast. Two shelves of sketchbooks are nearby, which are labeled by year and place. And I’ve got many sketches and paintings scanned and on my hard drive and backup drive. The cleanout was wonderful and got me to sort all this stuff and put it where I can get to it. An all-day chore, well worth it.

  6. cantueso says:

    What size is the print going to be? Because on the first picture one the colour is only a patch and one cannot see the fluffy little feathers. “Bunt” means colourful in German, but it could also be the surname of its discoverer. — The white bird is a beauty; those long white feathers could be of a Dior design.

  7. bonnieluria says:

    The painting of Koi and Egret is magical, ethereal and so very beautiful. And as if your sharing of work with us, your smitten audience isn’t enough, I really love how you show the practical methods of the “workings ” of an artist ( your palette and spray bottle). As visual learners, which I guess most artists are, I love to see how other painters set up their tools.
    Thanks so much for bringing your stunning work, artists’ hints and a naturalist’s slant to this site,
    It’s always a thrill to view your new postings.

  8. Sherrie Y says:

    Dang, girl! Too much caffeine! You’re making me tired just watching all this productivity. But thanks for sharing the process… I can feel a weeding lurking here, too… may mine be even half as glorious as yours!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s