It took me years to get comfortable working with watercolor. For the longest time I just couldn’t accept that this paint does whatever it pleases and has a mind of its own.

I’ve recently learned to let go of the urge to control. The paint can be guided and advised, but it makes the ultimate decision of what to do, and you know what? It usually makes good decisions.

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I took a few watercolor classes on Craftsy that really helped me to understand this medium and how to get the desired effects without losing my mind. If you’re at all interested in watercolor I very highly recommend Craftsy classes, they’re inexpensive and you can take them at home, in your pajamas, with a beer in hand.

Best school ever!

(((There are links to watercolor specific Craftsy classes at the end of this post if you’re interested)))

This whole chicken project started after I took the classes and wanted to experiment with color mixing and expressive brush strokes. I painted a quick study of a rooster and posted the results on Instagram and Facebook.

Everyone loved it!

…So I decided to paint a whole mess of poultry portraits.

After taking a few classes on watercolor, I wanted to practice what I'd learned. So of course I made poultry portraits of our flock of insane chickens.

A few more watercolor studies were in order. I experimented with color bleeding and blowing on the wet paint to make it flow. The results were really fun and interesting!

After plenty more practice, I delved into painting portraits of our crazy flock of chickens. As most of you know, I have hundreds of photos of our flock and chose some of my favorites to re-create with watercolors.

Fun colors and expressive strokes were used to bring these portraits to life. Some were certainly more successful than others, but they were all fun none-the-less, and I’m excited to share them with you today!

It all started with Dee Dee. She’s a Dominique, and my favorite chicken ever. She follows me everywhere I go and is always “helping” me weed the garden and stir up the compost. I look forward to seeing her and chicken talking back and forth with her every day.

Her personality is very purpley (that’s a word right?) so I chose mainly violet tones for her portrait:

Next I moved onto Penelope, our Blue Laced Red Wyandotte. She’s absolutely gorgeous and very sweet, although she’s a big trouble maker! A few months ago she decided to disappear right before bedtime. It took me an hour to find her and she was right under my nose the whole time! You can read the story of her chicken caper here.

Penelope was painted with super bright magenta and several shades of turquoise. I love how the paint looks like stained glass:

Frank the rooster used to be called Francesca. Francesca was staying with us over the winter while a friend re-built her chicken coop. One day I heard a strangled croaking sound coming from the coop, and minutes later, Francesca was bellowing out her very first crow. She instantly became Frankie, and was the first rooster of ImaginAcres. He was a very protective and strong addition to our flock and even fathered a few chicks during his stay.

Frankie was painted just as bold as his personality:

This is one of our newest members, hatched last May. She is yet to be named but should probably be called Houdini for her magical aptitude for escaping and disappearing. We managed to lose this bird for an entire day during the coldest month of the year. She caused quite the panic before she was found! You can read about that tale here.

I used wacky bright colors to reflect her wild personality. Can’t you just see the crazy in her eyes?

Our Buff Orpingtons are silly and sweet. I adore their personalities and their big fluffy butts. When I found this adorable photo of one of our Orpingtons I knew I had to turn it into a painting.

This is my favorite of the series, I just love how the colors melded together!

I hope you enjoyed seeing what I’ve been up to in the studio. Hopefully warmer weather is on its way and the three feet of snow outside will melt so I can take more photos of our flock to share here!

 Craftsy Classes on Watercolor Painting:

eGuide: Beginner’s Guide to the World of Watercolor
Close-Up Flowers in Watercolor (w/ Nan Carey)
Craftsy Portraits in Watercolor
Mixed Media: Pen, Ink, & Watercolor with Matt Rota
Watercolor Flower Bouquet, Mary Murphy

My watercolor materials:

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