Red headed woodpecker in Oil

I have been away from oil painting for almost 40 years and I finished this painting this morning. Some of the background feels a little too dark but I’m going to live with it for a while. In the interim, comments/suggestions always help. Thanks, Jody


wow I LOVE The color!
out of curiousity what is ruffling his feathers- is it wind?

I think somehow his position on the branch is a little wonky-
but it is really well done.

,and after all those years… too

I think the wind is raising his feathers. My neighbor is a wildlife photographer and she shares her photos with me. (Lucky me). Thanks for your review.

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Hi Jody! I think you are partially right about the background. While looking at it, I felt that the light colors below the bird and near the tail create a bit of a halo effect whereas the brown and green seem a little too intense or dark. I love the ruffling of the feathers (pretty sure it is a windy day). I assume that the bird has just grabbed the berry that is in his beak. I think that the belly of the bird against the branch gets a little confusing (not sure where the bird ends and the branch starts. Perhaps extending the yellowish feathers a little more over the branch would continue the forward position of the head (not sure I am explaining this well). This is a really nice painting. It is full of energy and movement, and translates the attitude of this type of bird very well. I like it a lot!

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This is fantastic! I love it!.

Great idea of adding some little whispies (sp) of feathers will differentiate from the branch. Great suggestions - - - thanks.

I think your background and subject are just dandy! There is still good contrast. Your “berries” are very realistic! Great job!

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I also waited about 40 years to start painting again. It is wonderful to have the time to create my art. Please feel free to pick up from where you left off. Life is for creating art and enjoying family and friend. Your piece of art is very interesting and well done especially when you have put it on hold for so many years. Wonderful job.


Beautiful painting. I’m like you and Taybar with it being 40 years since I have painted in oils until I started back a couple of years ago. I’m pretty sure that it has been about 40 years (period) since I took up painting and drawing in my late teens, early 20’s, so I am a little rusty. What is with the ‘40’s’? I think that it has something to do with beginning and ending. I had to ask my sister about it because of the ‘Great Flood’ and other references. I love the lower left-hand background. I think you need to add those colors with more dimensions on the upper right-hand and middle. I would suggest that you add more dark green over and around the redhead and feather it out some into the other background colors. Doing the same type of strokes you used in front of the bird. The branch there seems to get lost. A little of the reddish color where the brown is with the darker green around the bird’s head and a little more of the yellowish and lighter green around the rest of the bird… It is more of a reddish-brown. I think that will make the bird pop even more since you have used bright colors elsewhere The bird and the mid-to-lower left-hand side look great, Don’t change any of that. See how the green makes the red berries pop? I just think, when looking at the painting, you are trying to use up the paint you had out on your pallet. Some darker green and light green (yellowish) in the upper right-hand corner needs some work done on it. I found that when working with oils it helps to have a covered pallet paper pad (one in a tray). That way it is easier to match the colors you’ve used before. What is the white triangle in the middle? Is it a highlight on the tail feathers? I’d like a light shade of the red berries to cover the 2 white spots on those berries to the left of it. Or else make the white area smaller. I did not realize that it had been 7 months since this post was made. I hope you still have the painting.

ArtistLittleNora (“Lenora”)