When I started on the kingfisher for my client who commissioned the red-tail hawk I was excited about the painting. I am rather fond of these brightly colored birds myself. Sometimes, paintings come with unforeseen challenges, and this was one of them.


My first stumbling block in this painting was the sky. When working in oils and acrylics, I enjoy painting clouds and colorful skies, so I thought I would have a sunset in the background of this painting, behind the salt ponds. That ended up being a frustrating decision and I never got the sky to a place where I was happy with it.

Watercolors are much less forgiving than the mediums I prefer to use and I found this painting to be a struggle. I think I was able to capture the vibrancy of the colors successfully, but I was unhappy with the texture of the feathers on the kingfisher.

All in all, I think the client is pleased, so I packed her up and shipped her. I am hoping the third painting in the series will be more successful.

Update: While writing this post, I received confirmation of the painting’s receipt and feedback from my patron. He is very pleased with the colors and composition of the painting, so I can put my own disappointments aside and focus on the next painting!


Frances is a stay-at-home mom, community volunteer, and artist who loves all things old, living in the country and keeping chickens.


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