Painting A Mountain Chickadee In Watercolor | Eva Nichols | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Painting A Mountain Chickadee In Watercolor

teacher avatar Eva Nichols, Watercolor Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Painting A Chickadee In Watercolor Intro

    • 2. Materials For Painting A Mountain Chickadee

    • 3. Painting A Chicadee In Watercolor 1 Background

    • 4. Painting The Chickadee 1

    • 5. Painting The Chickadee 2

    • 6. Painting The Chickadee 3

    • 7. Project Description & Wrap Up

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Painting A Mountain Chickadee In Watercolor

In this class I will show you how to paint a delightful little Mountain Chickadee sitting in an Aspen tree. We will be using wet-into-wet, wet-into-dry, as well as glazing techniques. For the background and the leaves on the Aspen tree we will do some color mixing directly on the paper. You will also learn a variety of painting techniques to create atmosphere and depth and create the illusion of texture and feathers.

Whether you are a beginner, or an experienced watercolorist this class is sure to teach you new and useful watercolor techniques to enhance and bring new excitement to your watercolor birds! 

  1. Introduction and overview of materials we will use for this watercolor class.
  2. Painting demo of a loose background in watercolor using wet-into-wet technique.
  3. Painting the Chickadee creating a life-like eye and texture to resemble feathers.
  4. Removing the masking fluid and discussing the do’s and don’ts of using masking fluid.
  5. Painting the Aspen trunk and branches using dry brush technique to create the markings and a plastic card for the vein in the leaves.
  6. Painting the finishing details on the Chickadee and the Aspen tree.
  7. For your class project you will paint your own interpretation of a Chickadee or any other bird you might want to paint using the watercolor techniques demonstrated.

 Please make sure to post your painting to the project gallery – I can’t wait to see your Chickadees inspired by this class.


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Eva Nichols

Watercolor Artist


Hi, I am Eva Nichols, a Danish born watercolorist residing in Truckee, California where I love being part of the creative community. I show my work at various galleries in California and Nevada, and teach watercolor classes both locally as well as nationally and internationally. 

I love watercolors because the are such a lively, interactive medium. My painting inspiration comes from nature and traveling. Sharing what I have learned about watercolor over the years is my passion.

I like to keep my classes fun and inspiring, letting the watercolors flow and make them paint for me taking advantage of "happy accidents"!

You can watch some of my demos on my YouTube Channel: Eva Nichols Art

For tracings & handouts or to sign up for my Newsletter please go t... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Painting A Chickadee In Watercolor Intro: e even it goes here. Welcome to my school share class today I'm gonna show you how to paint a mountain chickadee in watercolor so you can see here I'm out in my garden and the birds are chirping And, uh, spring is here. So where I just thought it would be fun to wear painted little ticketea I'm a bigger bird watcher. So I was left to paint boots and it's been a while since I've been painting boots have been painting a lot of flowers and nature trees and stuff like that. So now it's time for some booties. 2. Materials For Painting A Mountain Chickadee: So let's go over the materials were going to be using to take this little mountain chickadee. And I just use the reference from my bird book that I have, and you can just google it for if you have. If you're birdwatcher Western United States, I think I know they are in the eastern part. It's a charity and you know you don't want to paint amount ticketea the pink, one of the other ticket, please, if you like same system and I used a pencil to sketch it on. Number two is what I like to use. And if you need to a way to make sure that the only race with your needed a razor and actually the way I usually do it is I do the drawing on a separate piece of paper, just a copy paper. Then I put it on my scanner and scan it into my computer. That way can shrink it up and down. And if I mess up my painting, I don't fret about it because I have the sketch ready to be traced onto another piece of paper, and I do it in all sorts of different sizes. So that's how I like to do it brushes. I think I usedto this assortment here, but whatever brushes you have, I put the water on. I think with this this pressure, you can also put it on with this brush. Just a bigger brush just to win with the background. And this is a recorder in rosemary and company saber blend data brush. It's a new brush that I'm trying to get used to. And here's my number 30 from the Mimic Scwill, serious from creative mark that is always good for putting on water. And then I used my dad a brush. I used a number eight and number four and number two round brush, and I paint it on this paper. See, Shouldn't designed professional grade watercolor paper. Cold press is very rough as it for you. 100% rack paper and I had masked out some off the white on the bird and also on the tree, and I found out that this paper does not work with masking food. You'll see in the video that that was not a good idea, but if you don't have to mask up anything, I mean so if you want to paint on this. If you have to have this kind of paper, then don't use masking fluid. I just learned that the hard way, kind of. And if you are, if you don't have this payment, this was just because I haven't. And I thought, you know, I want to try and use it. So if I paint again on this paper, which I will I will remember no masking food. But if you're painting on arches or one of the other professional watercolor papers, 1% cotton is the best you could totally use masking fluid. The masking fluid I used was the PDO drawing them and again, it's not necessary. So that's up to you. And I used to my rubber cement eraser to take them asking, threw it off, and it actually took kind like the top of the paper off because I painted on this. So that's just now, you know, we all know that, and then I used a cut up credit card to scrape out a little bit of veins in the leaves. And then, of course, I used my standard watercolor palette still do here, and I used a very limited palate Actually, I used a couple blue, French, Otto marine blue and for China and some gold. So to lose comport and French ultramarine blue they lift easily. They both know French blue is very stimulating. Couple just alter a little triangulating And then the bird Shana mixed with those two proofs gives you wonderful grays and browns. And then I used the pineapple gold to make screens with mainly with my cobalt. But you can also use the French ultra Marine blue, and I used French ultramarine blue cobalt and I splattered on a little bit off Canaveral Go for the background. So that is pretty much it on. And, of course, my trusted spray bottle. And I like to have two containers of water. One team and one that I can use to wear went up my brushes in, and then my, you know, either a sponge or or two town or or paper towel to working your brushes on, and also to were controlled the water and pigment in your brush. That's all you need sustained. It supplies that I only shoes and I would suggest you grab your surprise and let's get started on this little project 3. Painting A Chicadee In Watercolor 1 Background: So here you see, I have my two containers of water. One for dirty 1 14 I have my little drawing on my round watercolor paper. And as I mentioned, I went ahead and masked out just the white on the bird and then a little bit on the tree and the branches and a few of the leaves. You don't have to do that to control the paint around. It's not that bad. And, you know, if you don't want to have the the branches lighter than the background, it's not a problem if you paint over. I just didn't really know where I wanted to go with this. So I went to hit and mastered out. So the first thing I'm going to do is I'm gonna paint the background first, and I'm just gonna put clean water on because I wanted to it wet into wet. So I'm just avoiding a little birdie here. I can paint over the branches, no problem, and we'll see how it goes. I'm not so used to painting up. I think I don't want to paintings on on this handmade wanna call a paper that I got for my birthday last year. And so it's very bumpy. £140 it's made from rags six set as she don't want. I wanted in there, but I don't really want water in my tree truck. So just out, out and then just go around here and the tail. And there we are a little while for the water to sink into the paper. Okay? And the problems have mixed. Just gonna give it a little moment to sing again. Still sitting on top, Cobalt blue, French ultramarine blue and some clinical gold down here. So it's so just use around Well, maybe I lose. Maybe I use this part. She s my dad happened data and I'm just going to stop with the cobalt blue with that and again just in a loose manner sweat So it's gonna spread, and I The only thing I don't want in here is I don't want to see any brushstrokes. That's like the only thing I would be unhappy with. Just get the little bird outlined. A little chickadee mountain chickadee. You know, you could look in your own bird books if you have any. And there's all sorts of ticketea so depends on where in the world you live. I know in Europe, Denmark, where I came from originally, they had beautiful little chickadees. One very, very common one has like a yellow breast, and then they have a smaller one. Also, there's some yellow You like a Euro price. But it has, like, really blew in the marking stairs. Very acute here, up in the mountains, here in California, our chickadees, they are pretty much like black and white, a little bit of gravy. And if you're down in the loan and you utilities, there's several kinds. But one of them has a chestnut on the sides. She's not code on the side kind of problem British from, so you can paint any kind of food. You like whatever you feel like. Okay, so they're snaps and still very wet on a surface, so just gonna give it a little chance toe sink in. And I do want to put a little bit the French ultra Marine on here and there, and everything's gonna flow together. That's exactly what you want. You want a doctor to, and then I'm gonna take some off my connect gold, and I'm just gonna you could also splatter. Just want to make sure you don't hoops paint over the tail. Then, if you want to splatter, then you should cover up a little bit. Sure, there's not green or down here and get that tail picked up. C. C. About a little bit of into tears. It's no big deal and just run the colors back and forth, and I want a little cultivation here in the background. But I don't want to crazy, because so you know we don't want to take away from the bird. That's the focal area, this painting, and with that connection, gold running in with a French, ultra Marine blue and Kabul blue just I just want to indicate that there's, you know, some foolish and stuff going on other than what I'm asked out. So think that's about good, with a bit of the French ultra Marine blue into with the electoral gorgeous to get some little bit darker things going on. I think I better stop what do these steps and now that has to drop me 4. Painting The Chickadee 1: So are you. Background has tried on the birdie, and I got a little bit off, but Shanna out because I'm gonna make a very, very light grey car with the couple blue and Burkina, and that's gonna be for the tummy. It's like almost white, but no, quite so we're just gonna go in lots and lots of water and around the little wing here now , just gonna rinse it out and distribute the rest off this color here on the Tommy And here the breast a little bit darker down. Here was it's away from the light and that's pretty much it just a little bit. So that's that. And then we can go on the top of the head and we need to create a black and we can use our French automobile. Grew it over here, put a little bit of the Chennai, and I think we'll start with that always to doctor. But we can't lighten it up. And since I'm asked it out, it's quite easy to put that on. So I'm putting it closest with them asking Fluid goes down here, of course, and I want to wear lighten it up a little bit here. It's lighter. Here, of course, is like catches it and we can go in and find two later. Just want to get the local color and have it to the little bat beak. Because actually also very dark. And I think I might put just it a little bit more off the but she nine. It was too much. But that's OK. I just want to make it a little warmer. Just additional color, very ins there. And then underneath this little chin, he was also a very dark like marking. And then they're setting white patch, hoping of catching here. Maybe when I was still a little tiny, bit damp just so I could get a little bit of a shock. I etched there. Want a lift up to us to hint Beak? There is also at dock. Strike in through the eye much. We'll get that in what I can do. This one has to find enough tip and so stock and it connects up here and Gautam on the I that just fixing here know it. So then we already have that getting all ready to take shape like a little Multan chickadee , right? Everything is dry now and now we have the tail and the wings on the back left, and those are basically great little bit black and white. So I'm just gonna put a little bit of water in. And then I have my colors here, and I'm going to start with a lighter color. That would be Al Caray. So they're going to use the cobalt blue and some but Shanna and make a nice great there. That's probably more like what I'm needing. And I'm gonna go in and just get that on. And I want a lot more water. Course, you know, I'm gonna stop with the lightest and I would like a little bit of white, too. And I'm doing my strokes in the direction off the feathers here. And these are the wings that kind of crossed go across on the back there. There is a little bit of white in him, and I kept honestly tell if I put any masking fluid on here or not, I can't remember now, So I see. So that's already looking pretty good in my book, Coble Broom. Just to get a little variation in calmer. I like that already and it was good, I think, sure like not to look. And of course, everything's what. And you know, this paper is very, very rough. So where it helps a lot with getting some texture free of charge, door speak. So just have to live that drive a little bit. So while that dries, I was thinking, Might us well, kit the crushed coat off color on our tree trunk here? And I did put a little bit of masking on. I don't even think that that's was necessary at all, you know? But we'll work with it. And so if you decide not to put masking tape or masking fluid on and I think that's just fine and I'm going to go in, I'm gonna give the tree a little bit of color, just a face color. And I'm using the for China and a little bit off the copal blue again. And I'm just gonna run that in, and I like to get a little color variants on here. So then, just to make sure we door paint, well, that too. There. That's good. Then that painted in, and then we'll just have to wait for a little bit to have that dry so we don't mess it up here with the tail. So while the wings are still a little bit damp, I'm going to go in with my fine brush number two around just a little detail brush. And I'm gonna go into this doctor gray here and go in and do some of those dark on markings . And as you can see, it's still flowing a little bit target like softer edges. And that's why I wanted to catch it right now so it can still get the advantage of some of those softer edges, because getting hot edges is easy. Once everything's dry, that's what we get its hard edges. So I just wanted to take a manage off the dampness, and so the paint I have on this brush is not too watery. Otherwise, you know we're gonna create some blooms, and that might not be very advantageous there. I think that's good texture on their think. Things are dry enough that I can go in with my number four rush and again I'm gonna dip over in this way first. That's a little bit of the light of day with the poor blue and I'm gonna on dry paper. I'm gonna paint in the tail and again I go in the direction of the feathers and I don't mind if there's a little bit of white still left when I'm done with this because that's how I see it when I see them out in my yard. And now I dipped into the darker grey that I've created with the Burt Sheena and the French Ultra Marine blue. And again, I'm just doing these strokes just to get the feeling off feathers. And I want to have a doctor right around here with wings are folded over the tail just like that. They have kind of like this wins it out just again. And maybe I want to do it even darker. So it's almost black here. So I'm putting it in a little bit more off the French auto Marine blue in this dark gray part of I have, I don't even mind if it looks a little loose. I see pretty good here, damn it. And then, while I have that on, maybe you want to do so very final strokes here just to get a little bit texture on these feathers that looks pretty good to make sure things were not too regular try and once that's try, I think it's time to take the mask. Intrude off so we can put in the details on the bird, and we can just paint in the branches and the leaves and get their stock markings on our aspen or boots tree that we have. You're sitting on a branch there. Good. It's feet, just the little details that makes it complete. 5. Painting The Chickadee 2: everything is drying out. And I got my Robertson decoration out. Show that I can remove them asking you got to work with here. You know, when your room asking for what? You always have some imperfections. And this paper did not take very well to them, asking me what I can tell. It's kind of whipping, so that's something to keep in mind. You won't be very gentle, so don't live with painting apart. Make sure that I make a note of that and also have actually filled a couple off videos where didn't use masking. But I use this paper. And so now in my notes underneath my videos there, I want to write that not suitable from asking t from asking fluid Take will be fine. See hot rips. It is dry. It's not what So anyway, living burn. So there you see first hand what can happen with masking food and sometimes you just can't get it off. But here it's like a peeled off the first top layer off paper. Most places now that I got more white areas than what I wanted, I'm going to go in again with some of these markings and now, you know, dry And, you know, obviously the papers very rough now. So I'm just gonna make that work to my advantage. And so if you're painting on arches paper, for instance, you're really having a much, much easier time than I'm having right now. And but I think I can save it. So go this, teal. And then we also have to fix appear little dark markings, of course, in those also ripped off. But that's okay, because we can make it look like feathers. That's the whole idea here. So these are not dark markings. Think, go all the way up and then around the eye. But they do not go all the way to the peak. I wanna have it kind of rough right here with a white and the dark areas meat, because you don't want to say that it's feathers. So just putting pigment on like the tip of my brush. And it has a good point that's very important. When you do this kind of stuff and do the same here in this area, a little bit raggedy edges that and there's actually also here. It's like that's a little bit like that okay. And then we're going to have to also hit. I I need to put a little bit more here because it's wide or no white out here. So there's a just a fun little details and then does have a dark I. And, you know, I had the masking fluid on two were protect that white band in the eye, but obviously then went out the window. So what I'm going to do is I'm gonna do a little bit more brownish color and start that, and I'm gonna make sure I save that white in the eye. Yeah, and then I have to do that dry a little bit. And I want to lived up just a little bit here on a little beak and maybe trying a bit more pointy, that stock down. And I can go in and make some more doctor markings on there that I try completely. So why do that? It's good. A little bit off a very light grey. She color on blues, grace color on from the we're gonna use the the cobalt and Jenna mix that I had in there and to talk more water. I'm just gonna go want to go in and do some little baby like textures here for the feathers here on this white part. Shame on you. Just a bit. And I'm gonna dab it out. Well, I have to go away with him again. I just thought it was a little too dark, just a little bit. So it doesn't look flat. This and the same on a little tummy here, Especially down here on the lease belly. And then we have this his or her little feet, and we're also gonna do those kind of grace found So a little bit more burnt Shannon that gray. And again, I don't want to dark and just like that comes this way. And then and there's around like that. They are. We've gotta put my Aunt Sean. Okay, So now I'm gonna have very dry paint and very dark, and I'm just gonna go in and get that little I finished there, and I think I want to I can just want to show off in a little bit here, underneath like that. That's better. That's what we need it like that. There. I like that. That turned out pretty good, I think. And let's get a few more little, very thin little markings on here just to see feathers. Good 6. Painting The Chickadee 3: So what's gonna let the bird rest for a little bit? And I can see I need to fix this white area because it doesn't quite go down like that, But that could be fixed. But right now I want to see what I could do with this tree. So I'm gonna take my dad a brush, and I'm gonna take very dry paint. So again, going over here, we live by very dark. So basically, I'm looking for black. And, you know, I don't pick with black and make my own from French. Autumn wind blew and Burkina, and you just have to have it very concentrated. So not too much more. So that's why I'm going around here, my little puddles and finding just the right mix like that. And then I'm gonna go in from this side here and do some drive washing, and we're gonna go in from the other side and this same down here, Go. Yeah, that's pretty good. If you want to have a couple that go my goal crash like that. Like that. Okay. I think that looks pretty good. And then we need to get those branches painted in in a very, very light color from the bottom, right? I see. Yeah, sure. And I think I want to do a little bit warmer on the top. Actually, she like that and man goes all the way down there. And then it's going a little bit of that war. McCollum with but Shanna and go like this is gonna be here and no, do the same on this. Which here. Go. And here. Okay, stems going down here. And ranch painted. Not here. Just nice. With a little collar. Very inch, I think doesn't have to be 100% realistic. And especially since we got this damage paper, we have to give it a little extra texture. And then let's go in and get so water on and then some off our gold. And then that's getting some off our Crable blue course. You don't want to say it's spring time, so I want to make sure that getting springing collar on my leaves here and they're kind of rough because of the paper off course, and that's fine. And so let's do that here, too. Stop with the yellow and then put a little bit of them cooled in so that they create some nice greens seeing here. Not so water. So that's quinacrine on gold. It really does a nice job with the couple through. Should get a nice screaming green without being like iridescent. I don't really want that necessarily. And here and here. So just living the colors, the Canaveral gold and the court just in the mix on their own, something was white. Spots him stare way. Then I think I'm gonna try and go in with my credit card and see if I can scrape out some veins being the leaves. So here's my credit card and start up here before dries on us and scraping a little bit of texture. And here, since this is kind of an odd shape, its leaves that are overlapping here. Yeah, you hear you're so that and just to let it give it a little bit of a shape, I want to fix this ranch. And so I want to put some markings on the branches also because I think it's drying off that I could do that may not so just a little bit like just to give it a little bit more process. Yeah, Missing this one down here and then I had up here. I have something I wanted to fix on my little booty. So thes markings here, they actually more like this white marking. It's more like this shape. So just like that there. And I think we've got a cute little birdie here, and then we just want a doctor underneath here, too. True. You know, the feet are not going to be the most prominent. When you doing like boots and things like that, it's just gonna have something that indicates it. They have feet, But don't go crazy because that's not the focal area by any stretch of the imagination. Right now, I'm just putting a little bit of texture and and I want to just give this tree just a little bit of color, barely there, but a little bit of color. So it's not so white right on the tail here in general, just trolling it down a little bit. Maybe in here, off that china in a couple of places, I think could be nice on the trunk. Yeah, just a final details. You just smudge a little bit more there. And I'm also feeling that I need to just Okay, this one. No more textured. I'm not sure. Sure. So it lift it up and then gonna go in and put you like that. Better just gonna go in and put the last little dot markings in there? Yeah, I think we saved it. And we got our little mountain chickadee and I also and happy enough with the leaves and the branches there. It's background. And it was a real bummer that the paper peel so much, but I think I saved it. So there you have it. A little ticketea. And I hope that you will share your creations on the project gallery page so we can see what you came up with. And I wish you happy painting and hope to see you soon in another school. See a video. Thank you so much and see you soon. 7. Project Description & Wrap Up: So, as you can see for this project, I kept it very, very simple. Just used four colors. French, ultra marine, blue, cobalt blue, Shana, ankle capital, gold. If you don't have connected on gold, use whatever yellow you have. The nickel Asia yellow or transparent Yellow is a wonderful college who were used to. It's very close to Paranaque. Adan. You just put a little bit of merchandise and you have exactly the same colors pineapple gold. But feel free to use whatever color so you feel like. And you could make a new ticketea much more colorful if you want to. Doesn't have to be realistic for your class project. I hope that you will paint a little chicken T for me. You can. You used to sketch that I'm providing that you can find in materials, list and supplies in this class description. And maybe you have your own Bert books that you can look in if you wanna make the ticketea specific to your particular area. I chose the mountain Ticketea because that's what we have up here where I live on. Here's one of my old days Bert books and here's you can see there's a whole bunch of chickadees. Here's the one I mentioned with a yellow belly that was That's very, very common in Denmark. Has a blue on the wings to. And then here is the other little chickadee that I don't know what it's called in English and Danish is called plum eyes and responded called Moose Slipped. And here's a couple of other off the little chippy teas that are more in the same color family as the mountain chickadee that we painted black, white and gray ish Karsh Ron ish. But anyway, find a chickadee that speaks to you and painted Please post it on the project. Galley paid for us so we can all see your little lovely ticket ease. So I hope you have fun with this project, and I look forward to seeing you in another scarce here class very soon.