Tuesday, March 19, 2013

American Goldfinch


American Goldfinch
16" x 20"
[click on image to enlarge]

American Goldfinches are found at some season in virtually the entire United States. Breeding in the northern sections and Canada and wintering more southerly. They like weedy, semi-open areas and are frequently found in the suburbs if less  cultivated areas are nearby.
They are gregarious and acrobatic feeders, loving mostly small seeds but especially thistle. These small seeds, called niger, will almost always attract them.
A birder will notice that I have mixed a breeding male with an alternate plumage female. In theory one could see this combination of birds in October in the moderate western climate. Regardless the winter birds are  very handsome.
I wondered while doing all the work of painting the male and then covering much of him with the Russian thistle blossoms but I liked the composition as more realistic.
One step that I have used while painting is to photograph the work and then switch it into black/white or sepia in Picasa while trying to adjust the tones and values.
The combination of yellow and it's complement purple/violet makes each color appear a bit more intense. Happily the goldfinches seem to agree.
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