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  • Writer's pictureDiane M Kellogg

Flirty Flamingos

By Robyn Smith of Robyn Smith Art Adventures


I started taking the Dirty Flirty Birds class with Jodi Ohl a few months ago but didn’t get too far. While watching the video on experimenting with different eyes and beaks, I got side-tracked drawing whimsical birds! I am fascinated with different expressions and how the “character” of the bird develops with eye/eyebrow/beak combination! Even though I haven’t completed Jodi’s class…(yet)…I highly recommend it! I also have this fascination with texture, and I love how these flamingos seem to pop off the canvas with just a little texture for their bodies!


I am a Mixed Media Artist/Instructor in Spokane WA. I find that art is an adventure that never gets old – there are so many possibilities….and I do love to explore! I have a passion for guiding others in exploring art in a way they might not have thought of before! One of my favorite areas is Mixed Media and Art Journaling. I also LOVE repurposing items into my art - old records, maps, old sheet music, patterns, tissue paper, etc. I've been married for 28 years and have 4 adult children. My greatest pleasure is being “Nana” to my GrandBlessings!

Project Supplies

Usual Painting Supplies (paper towels, gesso, an old toothbrush for splatters, stylus or pen, etc)

Saral White Transfer Paper

Liquitex Basics Acrylic Modeling Paste

Golden Coarse Molding Paste

Joggles Stencil Cyclone 10-33792

Cosmetic sponge (wedge)


I recycled an old 12x16 stretched canvas, but this can work on so many different surfaces!


DecoArt Americana DecoArt Americana Multi-Surface Satin

Snow (Titanium) White School Bus

Toffee Shrimp

Sapphire Coastal Waters

Ultra Blue Deep Black Tie

Prussian Blue

Lamp (Ebony) Black

Traditional Burnt Umber


Royal & Langnickel 3/8” Angle 10mm Moderna M77A

Royal & Langnickel #6 Filbert RSET-9307

Royal Talon 3/0

Simply Simmons 1” Wash

Dynasty #4 610 Eye of the Tiger

Painting Instructions

1) Cover the surface with gesso and dry. (The recycled canvas I’m using, I had previously used a thicker gesso and was playing around with printing veggies, so my surface has some random textures!)

Picture #1

Background: (See pic 1.)

2) Sky - Paint the top 1/3rd of canvas with a Sapphire/Snow White 2:1 mix. While still wet, wash Ultra Blue Deep from top to bottom of the sky so that the top is darker. Dry. Lightly drybrush with White through the stencil to create visual texture in the sky.

3) Ocean - Paint from the sky to bottom with Coastal Waters, stopping an inch or so from the bottom. While still wet, add a wash of Ultra Blue Deep from the horizon line down. Do not mix completely. Float Prussian Blue at the horizon line and lightly brush down (an inch or so) using horizontal brush strokes.

4) Sand – apply coarse modeling paste with finger to bottom inch or so of the canvas. (Tip: make sure that you don’t make an “edge” where sand meets water by feathering out the paste).


5) Transfer birds to the canvas with white transfer paper and stylus or pen. Fill in birds and reflection with gesso, but leave a very fine gap around details (eye, beak lines, where the neck meets the body, and the feather line across the body, and where the leg meets water/reflection). (See pic 1 above.)

Picture #2

6) Feathers – starting with the bottom feathers, use the filbert to apply modeling paste, make sure to get paste slightly over the tracing line. Once the area is full, create feathers by stroking from the bottom up with a slight curve. (See pic 2.) Use a hairdryer on it for a couple of minutes to dry the top surface.

7) While that layer of paste is drying, apply a second coat of gesso to the head, neck, legs – but not the reflection. Be careful not to rest your hand on the paste!

Picture #3

8) Sand – Apply Toffee to coarse texture. Then wash Toffee up to ½ way of reflection. Dry. Use a paper towel to cover the surface above the toffee. Add splatter using an old toothbrush and Traditional Burnt Umber. Then splatter with White. Remove paper towel and dry. Then wash Coastal Waters from mid reflection to the coarse paste. Add a slight wash of True Blue Deep to the same area, but not mixing completely. Dry. (See pic 3.)

9) Feathers – now we’ll fill in the top feathers and tail feathers using the same method as we used with bottom feathers. On this step, I like to add a little more paste to the center to create a more rounded body. When brushing these feathers, start from the top and brush down over the bottom feathers using a slight curve. (See pic 3.). Use a hairdryer on it for a couple of minutes to dry the top surface.

10) While the top feathers are drying, paint the eyes with a School Bus/White 1:3 mix. Float School Bus around the edge of the eye. Paint the beaks White. Paint head, neck, and legs with Shrimp, but not the reflection. Be sure to close the gap that was left by gesso for details. By this time, the top feathers should be dry enough. Paint with Shrimp.

Picture #4

11) Using Black Tie, float shading around the entire bird (not the reflection), to include up under the feathers.

12) Paint the following using Black Lamp: the bottom part of beaks, mouth line, the line around eyes, pupils, eyelashes, eyebrows, and the lines where the beak meets the head feathers. (See pic 4.) Tip: As an alternative, you can use a micron pen for the black line detail.

13) Using a mix of White/Shrimp (2:1), paint the legs. Adding a bead of water, paint reflection, and let fade to the bottom of the reflection. Drybrush White over the feathers and legs (and the reflection if needed). Add White to the bottom of “thigh” and a thin White line where leg/reflection meet. Add Lamp Black on the bottom of “thigh” and drybrush slightly where leg/reflection meet. (See pic 4.)


14) Using a cosmetic wedge, paint Lamp Black around the edges of the canvas.



Contact Robyn at...


Instagram: @robynsmith_artadventures

Photos, Pattern ©2020 Robyn Smith Art Adventures

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