Rhode Island Red Rooster

I did this watercolor painting of a Rhode Island Red rooster recently as part of a series on animals I am doing with my watercolor painting students. This subject can be tackled in various ways and I used two different techniques with my two classes.

In the first watercolor painting I built the red watercolor wash of the bird’s comb and wattle (the red bits) in a number of glazes. In the second version I did it mostly in just one wash.
Here is the reference photo I used for these watercolor paintings in case you would like to have a go at it yourself. The reference photo is of a Rhode Island Red rooster on a friends farm.

Rhode Island Red Rooster

Rhode Island Red rooster reference photo for watercolor painting

Rhode Island Red rooster reference photo

Below are the two watercolor paintings of the same subject . In the first example I built up the color with a number of layers of watercolor paint. I made sure each layer was totally dry before I placed the next one on top. It was in the second layer that I sprinkled salt where I wanted to create texture. The salt was sprinkled while the wash was still wet and left to dry. Afterwards I brushed off the dry salt.

Watercolor painting of rooster head

Watercolor painting of rooster head

In the second watercolor painting of this Rhode Island Red rooster I painted most of the comb and wattle of the rooster in one go, the salt was used at this time as well.
You can see that in the first example the watercolor is much stronger and vibrant than in the second example. The reason for this is the extra layers of paint used.
The green background, being the complement of red, makes the red appear brighter as well.

Rhode Island Red Rooster watercolor painting restricted washes

Rhode Island Red Rooster watercolor painting restricted washes

You can see in the second example that the watercolor is a lot lighter though it has a fresher feel to it. There is no right or wrong way to paint this subject. I have given you these two watercolor painting examples to show just two ways in which this subject can be tackled. I can think of many more. I will be producing a full demonstration article on how these paintings were done in the coming months once I get through a few projects I have under way.

Below is another version of this rooster this time the body is shown as well.

Watercolor painting Rhode Island Red Rooster by Joe Cartwright

Watercolor painting of Rhode Island Red Rooster by Joe Cartwright

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