First, I paint on masking fluid,
dragging and flicking to splash needles
where goldfinches nestle amongst the thistles
drawn in faint HB, each waiting
in anticipation of the vibrant
and the subtle tints to be applied.
I decide on a No. 2 brush and a No.10,
wet the surface to be worked on,
then blending cobalt blue with burnt sienna,
I shade in a touch of ultramarine.
Next come umber shadows,
and I use chrome yellow and black and white
for the flashy markings of the wings.
For the back-view bird,
I mix the faintest purple, which I blend
with thinned sienna to produce a pale brown.
To soften hard edges, I wash in extra water
and with dry brush, procure the appearance
of feathers, spotting on
some darker flecks of brown.
Painting on a little yellow
where the red will be applied ensures
the brightest shade. And now
I use a finer brush to bring in sharper detail
before a glaze - transparent wet on dry.
Peeling off the masking fluid,
I wash in the hazy mists of thistles
in pinks and mauves and muted greens.
These form a background where unaware
the finches flock to feed.
I do not indicate the net -
so fine, the birds will be deceived;
their freedom soon forgotten -
they'll want for nothing, and I think
they'll be quite happy in a cage.