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Believe it or not, the view from my living room window on this mid-January day is just as bright and sunny as my Woodpecker in Acrylics on a Sunny Lowcountry Day painting. It’s always sunny and 75 degrees here in coastal South Carolina! Not really, but it is like that most of the time. Sometimes, I take walks in my yard and around my neighborhood to find inspiration. I snapped a photo of the loblolly pine tree in my front yard with my iPhone, then converted the picture to a sketch on my computer.
- 8 x 10 birch board
- basic paint brushes
- Apple Barrel paints- Bright Blue, White, Cobalt Blue, Nutmeg, Tuscan Red, Pewter, Black, Christmas Green, Bright Yellow
- matte acrylic sealer spray
I chose not to paint the Tahoe parked behind the tree, and substituted a woodpecker for the vacant bluebird house. Sometimes I start with a certain plan in mind, then change it as I go along. I didn’t want to paint an empty birdhouse. Then, I heard this pecking noise behind me. Perfect! I couldn’t get a close picture of the woodpecker from the ground, so I ad libbed with a photo from the internet. I can see and hear pileated woodpeckers around our house on most days. We have lots of tall trees in our yard and around our neighborhood. Twenty-five years ago, we were one of the few houses on our street. Now we’re surrounded by neighbors. Luckily we still have deer, squirrels, lizards, cardinals, finches, chickadees, hawks, owls, woodpeckers, egrets, and butterflies to gaze upon.
When you’re painting with acrylics, start by painting the thing your eye sees last. Fill in the sky area with Bright Blue, then highlight the bottom corners next to the tree with White. Tap a mixture of Cobalt Blue and Bright Blue in the upper area of the sky.
The tree trunk is a mixture of Nutmeg and Tuscan Red. Make knot holes with Tuscan Red, then surround them with tapped-on splotches of Pewter and White. Blend as you go. Use your liner brush to outline the knot holes with White. Shade the right side of the tree with Tuscan Red, then make some Black squiggly lines and circles on the right side of the tree trunk. Outline the outside of the trunk with slightly thinned (use water to thin it a little bit) Black.
Mix Pewter and White to paint the street behind the tree.
Base the grass with Christmas Green, then tap in Spring Green and Bright Yellow to highlight near the bottom, next to the tree trunk. Add some Christmas Green mixed with Spring Green splotches at the top of the grass area. Use Tuscan Red for the pine straw patches on the grass and street. Make Spring Green squigglies in the grass.
Shade the road with thinned-down Pewter + Black along the edge of the tree. Use the liner brush to paint Christmas Green and Spring Green grass sprigs along the side of the road closest to the tree. Paint Nutmeg, Spring Green, and Bright Yellow grass sprigs for the tall grass on the other side of the street. Shade underneath the grass sprigs with Tuscan Red.
Paint the Spanish Moss on the right side of the tree with Pewter, then highlight with White.
Paint the trees and branches on the left side with Nutmeg + Black. Make little leaves with Spring Green + Bright Yellow. Highlight the leaves and branches with White. Paint the Woodpecker’s body and feet with Black. Highlight the beak and feet with White. Add a little speck of Bright Yellow at the top of the beak. Add a few streaks of Pewter on the wings and belly.
Paint his eye White, the pupil Black, and the iris yellow. Add White highlights to the body, eye, and feathers. Sign your painting with White.
You’re all done! Isn’t painting fun? I hope you enjoyed my Woodpecker in Acrylics on a Sunny Lowcountry Day tutorial. Don’t forget to seal your project with matte acrylic sealer spray.
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