The final painting: a red kite

I used my colour swatches to help me mix the right colours. I felt nervous when I started it and got more confident the more I did.

Painting a red kite
Me painting the kite

My Final Picture

Painting of a red kite
The finished picture.

Lessons learned from the picture

  • The grid technique made it easier to draw accurately
  • It was really useful to be able to decide on the different different colours before I used them
  • It was also useful to experiment with different textures
  • It’s important to plan which spaces are meant to be white. I accidentally painted over some spaces which were meant to be white so I have to fill it in white with white acrylic paint.
  • Contrast is really important too because it makes the subject stand out more
  • I got one of the wing patterns wrong because I focused so much on painting so I forgot to look 🙁

Overall, I thought the picture went pretty well and was worth the while.

Drawing for my final painting

I printed the photogragh a an A3 size. Then I used a grid technique to copy the picture. I drew lines across the picture so it was divided into 9 squares, then I drew the same grid on my paper. I covered tall of the picture except one square and I drew that square in the same square on my paper. Then I covered the next square on my paper. So I copied the photograph one square at a time.

Drawing the claws of the bird

Drawing the bottom centre square of the phototgraph

Light sketch of a red kite
Drawing the cenral square of the photo
Drawing of a red kite
The finished drawing

Experimenting with colours for my final piece

I tried to mix the right colours to match (or come close to) the colours in the real picture. I found different ways of creating the greens and browns in the picture, I also tried ti find ways to create the different textures of the picures. I used the handle of a brush or the blade of a knife to scrape reeds in the paint and white acryllic paint for the flecks of white on the wings.

differents shades of green
I decided that the reeds to the right of the picture are a mix of ceruleum blue, yellow ochre and a touch of white
Different shades of green and brown
The green to the left of the picture is a mixture of hooker’s green, lemon yellow and white. The kite is burnt sienna and white, burnt umber, yellow ochre and cadmium yellow, and white with a hint of ceruleum blue.
Experiments with painting the bird
Experiments with texture

Choosing my final picture

I decided a while ago that I wanted to paint a bird of prey so I chose to paint a red kite. First I drew some sketches to decide the composition of the picture. I looked at zooming in on one part of the kite and zooming out on the whole kite.

Aububon shot the birds he drew and then stuff them and put wire inside them. He then posed them and painted the bird in front of him. I won’t do this of course, I will draw it from a photograph. I looked online for photographs of red kites in different compsitions and I chose one of a red kite catching a fish not far from where I live.

Pictures of red kites

a red kite catching a fish

Experiments with watercolours

My final picture is going to be a watercolour and for school I had to make a picture of a shipwreck. So I tried different ways to paint the sea and sky with watercolours. Sometimes I painted different colours on each other when they were wet so they blended together and sometimes I waited for the first colour to dry before I painted the next colour on. So I mixed green with blue and black to create the sea and yellow, black and dark blues for the storm clouds.

And also I tried scraping the paper with a knife to create foam. I wanted the sea to look rough so I tried swishing the paint around a bit to create an agitated feel. I quite liked the effects I got although I think it looks better from a distance. Here are some of the practices.

Pictures of a stormy sea

History of watercolour paintings

Today I looked through some books and online at the history of watercolour paintings. One of the first people to paint in watercolours was Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528).

Bullfinches by Albrecht Durer. I like it because I like bullfinches.
A boat and a bouy on rough seas
A boat and a bouy on rough seas by J.M.W Turner (1775-1851). I like this picture because it’s expressive and mysterious.
Birds on blossom
Birds on blossom by Fidelia Bridges (1834-1923). She was an American watercolour artist and she was one of the only women to make a living from her art. I like it because it’s colourful.
Cherries on a plate
Cherries by Rhoda Holmes Nicholls (1854-1930). She was an Anglo-American artist who won awards in Europe and America for her paintings. I like the colour contrast.
A scene in Venice
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) a scene in Venice. I like it because it’s vibrant and it’s got movement in the water.


Today I looked at different types of lines and how they make a picture feel. Horizontal and vertical lines feel more static and stable but diagonal and swirly lines give the picture more energy. You can combine the different types of lines to make a more interesting picture. It is also more interesting if the subject isn’t in the middle.

Small pictures with different lines in them.