Goldfinch – tips and techniques

Goldfinch by Claire Seaton
Goldfinch by Claire Seaton

Here are two of my studies of a goldfinch painted about 4 years apart. There are parts of both which I like but I prefer the more recent one. Different times, different styles. I shall describe the steps for painting the second study.

  1. Always with a finch, any finch, begin with the beak.Use very dry black ink. It is a stubby beak for cracking seeds with a downward facing hook at the end.
  2. Then paint in the position of the eye. Do not worry if this disappears as the stage 3 is painted. With this dry black ink paint the lines of the wings and tail.
  3. With a slightly wetter black ink paint in the plumage around the beak, at the back of the head and on the wings.
  4. Add the bright red plumage on the head and the bright yellow flash on the lower wing.
  5. Add the brown plumage on the back and body with as few strokes as possible. Add a few light grey strokes to suggest body shape.
  6. Finally, add legs and feet and the eye. If you want, add the background of a teasel for context.


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