Kingfisher Painting in Oils

Kingfishers are mesmerising little birds and usually only seen flying past, or away, at break neck speed. Our local wildlife centre here in Cilgerran in west Wales has a healthy population of kingfishers and we’re lucky enough to see them quite regularly there. The vivid colour of our British Kingfishers are truly stunning, a turquoise iridescence back and head and a bright orange underside. I have painted kingfisher before, but thisk kingfisher painting will be a exciting challenge.

See below the stages as the oil painting progresses from start to finish – start date is/was 25th June 2016.

Stage 1)

kingfisher painting in oils stage one

Using a palette knife I’ve blocked in the background with a thick mixture of RAW SIENNA, ULTRA MARINE BLUE, LEMON YELLOW, and BURNT SIENNA. I’ve painted this very loosely, and I’ve not over fussed it, at this stage it’s just a matter of getting paint on the canvas in roughly the right colour.

Stage 2)

kingfisher painting panoramic

For the next stage of this kingfisher painting, whilst the thick background paint was still wet, I’ve added some more paint and softened that background with a fan brush, blending all the hard edges go give it that slightly ‘out of focus’ look.

Next I started to map out the kingfisher over the top of that background, just trying to get the main colours in roughly the right place, so that I can use these as a gauge to correct the tones and colours later as the painting progresses.

Stage 3)

kingfisher painting in oils

I’ve started to add more detail to the kingfisher and the branch now, using smaller brushes and to get more control and detail. I’ve also started putting paint on the branch with a palette knife, using a palette knife allows me to create texture as well as add colour, which helps give the illusion of wood.

I’m using smallish brushes, size 4 and 6 flats, to add paint to the Kingfisher, painting over what I already had, I’m gradually building up the depth and detail, whilst all the time correcting and adjusting what was already there.

Stage 4)

Kingfisher painting UK

Finished painting – Here is the fishing Kingfisher painting, after a little more work from the stage above the final stage was to add a coat of retouching varnish to the painting. This helps brighten up the colour and get rid of any uneven sheen a finished oil painting can sometimes have.

framed kingfisher painting in oils

This Kingfisher painting in now available at the Cilgerran Wildlife Centre, displayed in the Visitors centre. Prints will be available to buy o this website soon.

Update 2019: See my latest large kingfisher painting here.

If you have any questions about this painting or any other queries please get in touch.


2 thoughts on “Kingfisher Painting in Oils”

    1. Whilst the paint is still wet, use a fan brush to soften the edges. Brush up, down, left, right… in all directions so as not to create any lines. You want to blend the edges so that there are non. You can only do this with fairly thick, still wet paint.

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