Red Cardinal Watercolor

Red Cardinal Watercolor.

I was away this past week on a wonderful “GFC” (Girlfriend Camp) trip, followed by a couple days of grandie girls and family fun.

This past Sunday afternoon, after over a week away from any ARTing, I found a bit of time in my art studio to paint.

I always fear when I’m away from it for a while, I will “forget” how to do it.

I decided to do a bird, then chose a cardinal.  I had some Simon & Garfunkel playing.  I felt completely relaxed, and just painted.  No drawing.  No warm-up.  And I got lucky and loved the result.

Just in case it turned out, and because I’ve been asked about sharing my process and “teaching,” I took a few quick iPhone photos of the steps I took along the way to share with you.

I found a cardinal photo on my ipad and then started with the eye placed where I thought was about right on a 10×16 sheet of Arches Cold Press.  I used Daniel Smith Indigo and Quinacridone Gold, leaving some white for the highlights in the eye.

When painting loose, you need to have a focal point, and when a bird or animal, a good focal point is the eye and/or beak/nose.  So from the eye, I used a wet brush to outline the beak, then added some Daniel Smith permanent deep red and water to blend the colors.

I deepened some of the colors and added the crown shape of the cardinals head and the shape of its neck.  This is pretty much all the “detail” I wanted in this painting.

From here, I added some more of the red and some cadmium yellow.

Then I just got super loose adding some violet and blue and green gold, lots of water for movement, and more indigo splashes.  I held the painting up vertically to let the drips run.

And this is what resulted.  I’m happy with how it turned out, and so glad to know I didn’t “forget” how to do it after being away for a while.

This painting – as an original, prints, and greeting cards – is available in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy Shop and at Berry Vine Gifts in BradfordWoods, PA.

Have a wonderful day, and don’t be afraid to fearlessly and joyfully go for whatever it is you love to do!

Cheers & Hugs,

62 thoughts on “Red Cardinal Watercolor

    • Thank Reeni! It makes me think a little of your Dad since talking with Bub about it this past week 🙂 ❤ It is there now if you look. My DIL just got it listed 🙂


  1. Benjamin is having a Watercolor Day! After seeing “Mr. Charlie O’s” Dragonfly earlier this morning, he discovers a “My Jodi Watercolor” too! After examining your step-by-step tutorial Benjamin has decided that this will be a “Painting Day”! That is, after we explore the remainder of your watercolor birds in the ‘related area’. We already visited the Papa Cardinal post from 4 years ago and Benjamin was quite impressed! He has already decided that Gem should sketch his friend “Lily Bob-Tail” and he will paint it. He sends “kisses and neckbuster hugs to My Jodi”! Thank-you!! P.S. Benjamin wants me to tell you that his squirrel friend’s name is spelled Lily, not Lilly as you were previously told. A long story in itself!

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    • Oh I hope you will share today’s art! Lily is how my baby granddaughter’s name is spelled so it is a very special name to me. Hope you two have a wonderful day! Neck buster hugs back to both of you!!!!


      • Benjamin is in the “process” of painting his masterpiece. As to whether he will share his finished artwork will be determined by his self judgement, he is a more harsh critic of himself than of others. If it meets his approval, it hangs in glory on my refrigerator, otherwise it is considered “rubbish” and is consigned to the waste basket! He loves the word “rubbish” and does not like the words “garbage” or “trash”. As you have added that one of the Grandiegirls is also named Lily, I will share the background story of our Lily Bob-Tail. Benjamin fell in love with Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit books at a very young age. His favorite is “The Tale of Benjamin Bunny”, no further explanation needed for that! When he was still a toddler, I came across the animated version on a Nickelodeon set of two DVD’s. It was an instant hit and continues to be a favorite. Lily Bobtail (as spelled on the cover) was introduced as a new character in the animated version, she was not in the Potter books. In about May, when a wee bobtailed squirrel hopped into my backyard to join our long standing peanut party…Benjamin and I were amazed! She looked more like a short eared rabbit. Benjamin immediately named her Lily Bob-Tail after the beloved rabbit. I have to take credit for the way that Lily Bob-Tail’s name is written for our friend. Benjamin practice’s printing and wanted me to print out the name for him to copy and that is how I printed it. In hindsight, perhaps I should have checked the cover! Attempts by myself to print it correctly have not been acceptable to Benjamin and so it stands, as Bob-Tail! Lily had grown considerably when I finally was able to catch some clear photos. When the photos were sent by Auntie H (a skill I lack), she added the message and sent them off to the recipients chosen by Benjamin. Benjamin was distressed that not only had Auntie spelled Lily’s name wrong, but also that it was too late to change it! He will be pleased that I have done so here! Thank-you x 2!! P.S. Benjamin and I think that Lily is a lovely name!!

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      • Such a sweet story! And was it you that referred me to the book “I’m not just a Scribble?” I bought and need to read to my 2 year old granddaughter who loves to “scribble” 🙂 I hope Benjamin knows all of his Art is beautiful – at least to us – as it comes from his heART! ❤


    • If memory serves me correctly, and this time I’m fairly certain it does, it was the day after Diane Alber’s National Scribble Day celebrated on March 27th that I wrote about that very book. And…following that, I believe that you told me that you had ordered it! I am delighted that you plan on reading it to the wee ones. Don’t forget to mark that date in your 2020 calendar and be sure to make scribbles with them to save and share!! The most recent addition to our Diane Alber library was Scribble Stones and the paperback book that is titled Scribble Stones Art Guide : Step By Step Painting Techniques and Tricks. Benjamin loves both! On our adventurings we collect many treasures and all sorts of different stones are amongst them. We have had many memorable & joyous times creating treasures from treasures. Benjamin has fun painting even when he produces art that he doesn’t like. He often tells me that he has to start by painting bad to get to painting good and will say “I can do this if I keep trying.” I will share your sweet last sentence with him, I love it! Thank-YOU!

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  2. “Eye” LOVVVE it!! ❤️❤️❤️ WOWZA Jodi!! You ROCKED this one! 🎨👍
    Thank you for showing your progress photos. 😊 Truly, my first thought when I saw it, was OH WOW!! ✨🐦

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  3. I first ‘met’ your cardinal on Instagram and sighed over him. Now I’m sighing even louder as I see the process you took to create him. Absolutely fascinating to me, since I’m no artist (but how I’d love to be). This is such a neat post!!

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  4. I’m not a painter, so I really appreciate it when you take us step by step through the process you used to create your beautiful paintings! I like the way you started out so detailed, and then got “looser” as you went along. The result is just perfect… most certainly didn’t forget how to paint on your girl’s weekend!

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  5. Oh just found this in my unopened mail. He is wonderful, I was so excited! Then discovered you went thru the entire process including colors. Really great job! Maybe that girls’ get-away, was great for your creativity, & it relaxed & freed you up to fully create! Beautiful job, & thanks for the step by step. Way to go! You are Fearless! Have a great eye!

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