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).

By: Jeff Rechin
Photography by Jeff Rechin

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.


Free tutorials, expert tips, exclusive partner offers, and more straight to your inbox!


I have not made this yet so I cannot rate it.

Include a Photo Include a Photo

Click the button above or drag and drop images onto the button. You can upload two images.

Cancel Reply to Comment

Thanks for your comment. Don't forget to share!

Is there anyway of getting the pattern for this? The first part is no longer in print.

I have a copy


Report Inappropriate Comment

Are you sure you would like to report this comment? It will be flagged for our moderators to take action.

Thank you for taking the time to improve the content on our site.

Sign In to Your Account

Close Window
Sign In with one of your Social Accounts
Facebook Twitter
Sign In using Email and Password