Studio Painting: “A Dash of Blue” (Bluebird)

This is from a picture taken of a bluebird at Grace Ranch (Muldoon, TX). 11x14" Acrylic
This is from a picture taken of a bluebird at Grace Ranch (Muldoon, TX). 11×14″ Acrylic (

In springtime at Grace Ranch a couple of bluebirds had built a nest in the purple martin house on the corner of the corral.  When you get accustomed to the subtle muted earth colors of the ranch, it takes you back to see a bold color, such as the bluebird.  There’s no sounds of traffic, nothing in the background hurrying to get somewhere, only the still of the mid-morning as this shy bird looks out for a grasshopper to take back to the nest.   This is the concept I wanted to try and capture.  So, I kept the background muted,  arranged the boards in a squared, steady fashion with muted dark, warm grays, and left the bold colors to attract and keep the eyes on the bluebird.

With that being said, Australia is now playing Chile in the third game of a brilliant display of World Cup soccer today! Gotta GO!

Artist Chat:

Titanium white, cobalt and pthalo blue, payne’s grey, cad yellow, alizerin crimson and red medium, raw sienna

Design: I tried to keep the colors muted except for the bird, and the highest contrasts and sharpest edges around the bird. Originally the bird was perched on a straight board, but it caused a defined line straight across the canvas (bad composition), so I broke it up inventing a post to the bird’s left and breaking up the board on the right around the left and right vertical thirds. The bird itself is positioned with the eye just off center of the top third horizontal line with the bottom of the tail reaching about to the bottom  third horizontal and vertical lines.  I added some striations to the board under the bird as interest and lead the eye towards the bird.  Values are the key to this painting!


5 thoughts on “Studio Painting: “A Dash of Blue” (Bluebird)”

  1. I love your blue bird; we have lots on Spring Island. There are over 200 boxes placed through out the island, checked each week & activity reported!! Come see! Love U, Ev

    1. Thanks, Aunt Ev! I’d love to get over there. I bet it’s a painter’s paradise. If you have some pictures of the bluebirds at their boxes, I’d love to donate a painting to the Nature Center of this. Love you too!

  2. Steve, beautiful Blue Bird. You have done it again and again and again. Always love reading your notes. phyllis

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