Northern Cardinal, Part Two
When you paint this bird, you'll find that there's a little more to a cardinal than just red and black (but not a lot more).
This is the finished cardinal. There are always little extra touch-ups that you can add, such as refining feather splits and feather edging that may not be as sharp as it could be.
I painted my cardinal with acrylics. Since the Northern cardinal has a basic overall red color, I used a base coat of a light red tone that I created with a red and gesso mix. On this bird, I used red cadmium flat rather than regular Liquitex red cadmium, which has a tendency to gloss up easily. I want to be able to add gloss if the bird I'm working on requires it. Otherwise, I prefer a more matte look to the overall colors. I added the details to the bird with a basic assortment of rounds (brushes) in the #2 to #6 sizes. Cardinals don't have a lot of markings and color tones, so this bird is relatively easy to paint.
This article is from the Summer 2010 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.