Every day in November I’ll upload a new bird painting or drawing as part of my new series!

30 Days of Birds – Day Twenty-Seven

Today we have a Female Cardinal, you can see the Male Cardinal I did for this series here. And yep, I really like birds with feathers that stick out on their heads (if you haven’t already guessed).

I decided to go with a neutral background, mixing cool and warm greys together. The reference photo had more of a bluish background but I added some warmer yellows for this painting. I really love portraits that have neutral backgrounds and thought it’d work really well with this bird. Having a flat grey on it’s own would’ve looked a bit boring, but by mixing up the tones a little it creates a far more interesting look.

It’s very easy to do too. I used a combination of Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Umber, Yellow Ochre and Titanium White and just added more or less of each colour as I went. You don’t need a hundred colours to make a good painting, it’s more about understanding how they work (or don’t), with other colours.

I started off with the background a bit lighter initially, but that just made the bird look boring and dull. So I went over the background completely and darkened it and it made such a difference! This painting went from something I disliked immensely, to one of my absolute favourites! It’s actually the background on my phone now.

30 Days of Birds - Day Twenty-Seven

Size: 5×7 inches.
Medium: Derivan Matisse Flow acrylics on canvas board.
Reference: From MorgueFile.


Hi, I’m Kat! An Australian artist who loves painting fantasy characters and illustrations.


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