A bird for my dad

A bird for my dad

This is a common flicker. It is  a small and unpretentious bird with a funny “mustache” and a simple and very chipper song. I wanted have something simple and chipper to greet my dad when he came home from a hospital where he had a little surgery. Something that would make him smile. They say that positive mood is as effective and helpful for recovery as proper medication. So, here’s a little flicker, dad! Hurry up and get well!

6″x8″ (15 x 20 cm) on Fabriano Artistico 300 gsm Soft Press, Cotman pan colors.

Another interesting thing about this painting is the new paper. I tried Fabriano Soft Press for the first time, and I believe myself to be in love. I found my favorite paper! The texture of this paper is somewhere in the middle between Hot Press and Cold Press, retaining the best of both worlds, in my opinion. It is smooth almost like HP and at the same time allows for great color flow, hard crusty edges are not a problem, pigment does not sink into paper valleys, and it is easy to lift color. A real pleasure to paint on. I will do my next portrait on it, should be great for skin.


6 thoughts on “A bird for my dad

  1. Your little Flicker is beautiful. I have never tried Fabriano 300lb. I have 140 and like it for the fact that it offers a wet look to my paintings when I use it. It seems as though it has less sizing and I can also lift color from the surface. I love the vignette-like appearance of this painting and you slowly led me up the body to the head where you included the majority of the detail which caused my eye to linger longer there. Nice painting, Alex.

    • Thank you, Leslie! A little clarification: the paper is 300 gsm = 140 lb. It is the same weight I used before, but the finish – Soft Press – was different and I just loved it. It has the minimal texture, yet behaves like cold press. Also, I did not remove the sizing, did not soak or stretched the paper, just cut a piece and worked on it. It handled beautifully. I think I will be doing a lot more painting on Soft Press.

  2. Thank you so much for this beautiful little painting. It warmed and cheered my heart too.

    And thank you even more for the info about Fabriano soft press. I just made my first handbound journal using Arches cold pressed because that’s what I prefer for regular watercolor painting. I’d really wanted something between hot and cold-pressed for a journal because I was worried the cold press would be too rough for ink. But now I know what I will use for my next journal. I will have to order it online since the stores here don’t carry it. It sounds exactly what I was looking for!

    • Thank you, Jana! I am so glad you found something useful for yourself in my post. I learned about Fabriano Soft Press on WetCanvas forum, the description sounded like something that would work for my aspirations for highly detailed realism. I tried Hot Press paper and, as you know, it has its challenges. Soft Press makes it much easier, I didn’t have to fight with my paper. In Chicago Blick stores carry it, so I don’t have to order. Do you have Blick in your area?

  3. Alex, thank you for sharing your feedback on your experience with the Fabriano soft press watercolor paper over at Roz’s blog. I will definitely try it out.

    Your work is wonderful! I especially love your pears!

    • You’re welcome, Katy! And thank you for your kind words about my trials and studies here. I painted those pears and got lucky with how they turned out. It hasn’t been so easy ever since :(. Possibly because I started to select more ambitious subjects…

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