I JUST LOVE this photograph of a Rainbow Lorikee. I didn't take it. Sarah Williams (user name MeHere) of Brisbane, Australia did. She is one of hundreds of photographers that share their work on SXC.hu, a leading free stock photo site.
SXC.hu was started in 2001 as an alternative to expensive stock photo sites. The images are free and you can use them for almost anything – web design, artwork, inspiration. They are high-resolution photos and are easily searched by topic. There are some restrictions- in some cases, the artist wants to be notified, and sometimes you need to give them credit. Some just want to see what you did with their image. And it is very simple to contact the artist – a click away. My favorite comment quoted in a photographer's intro came from Asif Akbar (user name asifthebes) from Mumbai, India, who said, "You can use any of my images without permission. Life is short, but there is always time enough for courtesy." Wow.
I ALMOST ALWAYS use my own photographs in creating my artwork. But I am going to paint this bird – because it makes me so happy! And those feathers – I can already see the wet watercolor spreading on the page. Follow me- I'll show you how I do a watercolor.
I LIKE different watercolor papers but I especially like the inexpensive Strathmore 400 series because it lets me pick up color easily, and I think I will be doing a lot of that here. My image is 14 inches by 10 inches. Let's get started.
FIRST, I wet an area with clear water. Using cobalt blue, I drop large amounts of paint in the wet area. I don't have to hurry to remove highlights in the feathers because, with this paper, I can do it easily even when dry. In the upper right area, you can see where I have removed color to look like feathers.
FILLING IN the black is next. I can't wait to see how it will look (and not at all sure how I will proceed) so I leave the blue (which has already started to bore me) and go forward with the black and adding opaque blue on top to make feathers life-like. Yeah- I like it – so now I can go back and finish the blue area. The red beak is pretty straight-forward. Wet the beak with clear water (this keeps the paint in any given area), drop on large amounts of red, then orange and yellow, then pick up white highlights.