Scarlet Lake Cardinal

Everyone loves cardinals! It must be that beautiful flash of red on a winters day that draws everyone to them. I have had several requests lately to paint cardinals. This is the second painting in the series.

From reference photo to finished painting:

I created this regal fellow using Scarlet Lake watercolor for the red tones. I also used Winsor Lemon and Winsor Violet to add depth to the color on the body and the feathers. In the cardinal I painted recently, I used Alizarin Crimson and Cadmium Red to paint the bird

Feather details were painted using the negative painting technique. I learned this particular technique from Louise De Masi and I have provided a link to her YouTube tutorial that explains how it is accomplished.

Other watercolors used were: French Ultramarine, Lamp Black, Paynes Grey, as well as White Ink.

I decided against painting any type of background color onto the finished painting. I preferred the bird be the focal point of the painting, standing out against the white background. I came close to adding a splash of blue behind it, but decided against it at the last minute. I am going to leave it at that and call it finished.

I will make prints available in the store for this one as well.

Happy Birding!



  1. Phil – I'm a self-taught graphic artist with a penchant for all things creative, and feature an eclectic collection of unusually imaginative designs available through various print-on-demand galleries. Enjoy a look around my portfolio, collections and blog, and follow me on Twitter for more updates - thanks!
    Phil says:

    Cardinals are beautiful and so too is your painting, Helen ~ very nice artwork

  2. bindyamc – An avid bird watcher who loves to read about birds,draw and take pictures,journal on the interesting behaviour of birds and their interactions .
    bindyamc says:

    So beautiful

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