Here’s a little window into my process. I prepped a 10 x 20 birch panel with gesso, sanding it to minimize the brushstrokes, then added a warm gray ground color. I sketched the birds and rocks with a little white sable brush. From there, I started building the foreground with a mix of cool and warm rocks, and dropped in a dark desaturated purple for the mass of seaweed. Kate commented that it looks like squid ink pasta. The birds developed pretty quickly, with the feather patterns on the backs of the least sandpipers requiring the greatest care. I refined all the edges, then tweaked the values and color between the birds and the waves in the background. Finally, I added the detail of the seaweed and driftwood. It was a full week on the easel from start to finish, and I think it’s done.
Mixed shorebirds is a 10" x 20" acrylic of least sandpipers and a semipalmated plover painted on a wood panel.