Have the “Coffee & Canvas” type learn to paint classes hit your area yet? They are really the “in” thing here these days whether it is for a girls night out or a date night (make that wine & canvas) or for your child’s birthday party. These events take a painting that looks great on the wall, that seems like it would be challenging to create, and break it down into simple to follow steps that show you how to create your own that will look equally great on your wall! You can try to follow the steps as closely as possible or get a little more creative depending on your comfort level and abilities. Today I’m going to show you How To Paint a Cardinal Winter Scene in 10 Steps, similar to the way you would learn at one of these classes but you can follow along at home! So, grab a cup of coffee and your canvas and let’s get started!
How to Paint a Cardinal Winter Scene in 10 Steps
- Canvas – size of your choice
- Acrylic Paint – grey, white, red, brown, and orange
- Paint Brushes – several sizes are helpful
- Plates, Cups, and Bowls – for pouring your paint out
- Bird Template
- Water – for cleaning brushes
- Newspaper – to protect your surface
- Paper Towel
Tip: I bought several canvas prints at a dollar store a while back for just $1 each. They were not anything I ever planned on putting up as decor but I knew that I could paint over them and they were much cheaper than buying plain white canvas from the craft store or craft department.
These are the brushes I used for this project. When you wash them well after each use, your brushes can be used over and over.
Tutorial For How To Paint A Cardinal In The Snow
Begin by covering your work surface with newspaper to protect it. Note that I did not put an easel on the supply list. You certainly can use one if you like but it is not necessary.
Fill a couple of cups with water and when brushes aren’t in use or between colors simply place brushes in the water. Dry them on paper towel before painting with them.
Using your largest brush, approximately a 3/4″ wide brush, cover your entire canvas with the grey paint. You should cover the sides as well as the face. This will allow you to display your finished piece without having to frame it. This first layer of paint should be smooth but does not need to be perfect or cover completely.
Here you can see that I am using one of my dollar store canvas finds.
After the entire canvas has been covered and has dried for several minutes put a second layer of paint on. The first layer of paint should be dry to the touch before starting the second. This is important or it will just pull the paint off of the canvas.
The 2nd layer of paint is especially important if you’re covering a canvas like I am rather than using a new white canvas to be sure the original image is covered.
Using the same brush add a small amount of white to the tip and brush on light strokes of “snowy wind” across the grey canvas. While the white is still wet dip the same brush into the grey and blend the white a little bit. Work in small sections, from top to bottom until you’ve covered the canvas.
Print the free printable bird template and then cut out the bird and trace it onto the canvas where you want it to “sit” with a pencil. You can click the image below and select print to print your free bird template.
For the first step in how to paint a cardinal, use a medium size brush, approximately 3/8″ brush, to outline the cardinal you traced with the red paint.
Using the same brush fill in the bird.
Holding the brush almost up and down and pulling it downward helps to create the tail feathers like you see above.
For the final step in how to paint a cardinal, you will add a detail and depth. Dip the same brush into the brown paint, adding just a small amount of brown, and then back into the red. Add a “wing” to each side of the bird’s back by brushing an oval shape on. You can repeat the downward brushing onto the tail to add a little of the brown to it’s tail as well.
Using the medium brush begin outlining the tree branch onto the canvas with the brown paint. The brown is very, VERY dark. You can always make your branch wider but once it is there you can’t really go smaller so start thin if in doubt. You could sketch it on with pencil as well if you feel more comfortable. Be creative with your tree branch. This can be as detailed as you like.
Use the medium and small brush to fill in the tree branch with the brown paint.
Using the smallest brush and white paint add snow and snowflakes to your canvas. The snowflakes are brushed on and again can be as simple or as detailed as you like. The snow is added by dipping the back end of the brush into the paint and dotting it on. Add just a little snow or a lot. This is your creativity at work!
I hope you found this tutorial for how to paint a cardinal snow scene to be fun! This Snowy Cardinal Painting will look great on display all winter long! Put it up in your own home or give it as a gift.
Are you interested in more How to Paint tutorials like this?
You may enjoy snowglobe winter art projects for kids so that can paint with you but have an easier project.