Bluebird: #2

I have been feeling stuck in a bit of a plateau for a while now. I decided to take a break from painting for a bit because my lack of progress was troubling me.

I then watched a video on YouTube that convinced me that I need to put more effort into understanding construction and manipulation.

I spent a very small amount of time working on perspective and construction. I definitely need to work more on this. Most of the exercises I just threw away, but tonight I decided to write about this, so I took pictures of the exercises I haven’t thrown away.

Most of these are just junk sketches that I drew trying to practice a few different things. My daughter helped a bit by adding some lines to a few. 😉

Basically, I realized that when I draw something, I look at the reference and just try to represent the lines that I see. This results in drawings that feel flat because they are. I don’t know how to see the three dimensional shapes that things are made of, and therefore I have a hard time understanding where light should hit, and what parts are more or less weighty. I’m going to put a lot of effort into being a better sketcher so I can be a better painter.

With that in mind, before trying to paint this Bluebird painting, I decided to spend an hour or so studying the construction of the bird. I definitely am not any kind of expert on bird anatomy, but here’s what I drew in that hour of quick studies.

I am not sharing any of this to show you how great I am at sketching. I’m sharing this to demonstrate the process I’m using as I try to improve. I want to be a better painter/artist, and in order to improve I need to practice practice practice.

Anyway – with all of that prep… here’s the painting I made of the Bluebird.

I still see a whole bunch of things that I would do differently, but even though I’m not 100% happy with the painting, I am ecstatic that this is better than my last attempt. I’ve been feeling stuck at a plateau, so seeing what I feel is such dramatic improvement between two paintings is a big encouragement to me.

If you missed how bad my last version was, check it out.

Seriously… that’s an ENORMOUS improvement.

Also, here are some feathers I drew.


  1. Have you discovered Draw A Box yet? It’s a free online arts fundamentals course available through Reddit and YouTube. I’ve been a little daunted by the time needed to succeed at DAB, while also recognizing it’d help with my painting very much.

    1. Ah! Draw a box!! I have seen it, and I messed with the first few lessons, but like you I was discouraged by the unenjoyable nature of the exercises. I wish there were some way to improve without just drawing boxes, but I think that’s the best way. I’ve been practicing a lot with boxes and picket fences recently, maybe it’s time for me to try dear a box again.

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