Sunday, January 27, 2013

Peacock Portrait

After "The Sky is the Limit" I was inspired to quickly move on to my next commission, a portrait of a peacock! The lady who I was painting for said that she liked the peacock for its religious symbolism. I wasn't familiar with the symbolism, so I looked it up so that I could incorporate it into the painting.

The peacock is a symbol of eternity, so I wondered how I might paint that in. I think about forever when I look at the stars, so I decided to paint a starry night sky that reflected in the first row of the peacock's feathers.

As soon as I began painting the light green feathers I realized that I should have made the sky purple because purple and green are contrasting colors. I had already removed the masked stars so I painted the next two purple layers carefully painting around stars. The result was worth the time, creating high contrast. This painting was a challenge in many ways, and I enjoyed the challenge!

I had to pull out my Daniel Smith watercolor sample sheet to find the right colors for a peacock. I also found some iridescent sample colors and added some shimmer. You can't see it in the scan, but it is really pretty! Parts of the head and neck shine, along with the blue "eyes" of the feathers and the little green feathers close to his body.

I have fallen into a nice working schedule that I am going to try to keep 3 to 4 days a week, working 10am to 5pm on illustration and art commissions. I have plenty of time in the morning to read and get chores done and then I have time to make dinner and get ready for our evening activities. I like it!


  1. i like this too! what an awesome way to stay disciplined, by giving yourself working hours and holding yourself to it. i'm impressed. and i LOOOOOOVE this peacock:)

  2. wow... ! that is such a wonderfoul work! makes me speachless! i hope i can reach your level one day! :)

  3. The blue and purple in the sky is really beautiful! Lovely delicate feathers, too. He's terrific!

  4. Wow! I really like the way your subject fills the frame, great composition. Love it!