Hummingbird with magnolia – two day demonstration

In this watercolour of a Hummingbird with Magnolia, I worked differently from my normal spontaneous, rapid painting. 

I am using a slower process where each segment is painted separately so that it does not bleed into the adjacent segment.    I am working on dry white paper, and gradually building up the tones/values to achieve a sense of contrast and drama. 

This will be a two day demonstration….as I need paint to dry overnight before adding more layers. 

This is where I finished off today. 



Frame 1.

I started by sketching out very lightly the composition using a watercolour pencil.    This way when I paint, the pencil marking will bleed into the overall image.      I then began to indicate the centre of the flower.



Frame 2

In this frame, I position the hummingbird. 



Frame 3

Then I begin to model the petals….I add a small amount of pigment at the darkest point of the petal shadow, and then with a clean, wet brush pull out almost to the edge of the petal.     I am using a mix of Violet and Raw Umber Violet for the shadow colour.    While still wet, I then add the pink veins in the petals, using a tiny amount of Opera Rose

At the same time, I begin to add some colour to the Hummingbird. 



Frame 4

I begin to strengthen the shadow tone…..making sure to leave dry white paper for the highlights. 



Frame 5

I continue to strengthen the shadow areas, by adding a tiny amount of burnt sienna to the mix.   I also add burnt sienna, Raw Umber Violet and Gold Green to the negative space surrounding the petals. 



Again, note that any white areas are dry white paper.        I will now let this dry overnight and then complete the exercise tomorrow. 

Although I prefer to paint in a more spontaneous manner, it’s sometimes good to slow down a little…..and it’s certainly helps to know different ways and techniques to approach a subject. 

All of the techniques I demonstrate on my blog and more will  be explored in Portugal this April.    For more information go to

Please visit my newly revised website at

A Bientôt




4 thoughts on “Hummingbird with magnolia – two day demonstration

  1. snowbird

    I’m looking forward to seeing this finished, it already looks magical. I do love voilet tones and the blues in the hummingbird’s head are


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