I had planned to paint this as a work in progress but it's been so gloomy lately I couldn't get decent photos of the steps. Finally I decided to forge ahead or this painting would never be finished and I completed this last night. And today we have sunshine! Perfect timing (for once).
The chickens (and one rooster) were painted with transparent watercolor, the background is tinted gouache. As for the steps/tips, chicken feathers(or any feathers for that matter) equal a nightmare for me. I hate painting tedious details so I made short work of them. With my easel at a sharp angle, I applied my various mixtures of watercolor in the approximate areas they belonged, letting them run and blend as they will. I came back when the paper was completely dry and lifted out a feather here and there, hopefully to create the illusion that I did much more than I actually did. The lifting also helped give the chickens contour and volume. My entire palette consisted of FUB, Quin. gold, burnt sienna, Quin. red and white gouache. I tinted the white gouache with Quin. gold for the background and applied it with a 1/2" synthetic flat in crisscross strokes. I love using gouache for my backgrounds because I can get a very painterly effect that works well in contrast to the watercolor.
Regarding my new Silver Black Velvet brushes, I was very happy with them. Especially with the rounds. They hold a nice sharp point so I didn't have to use so many different brushes to get the job done. They carry more water than straight synthetics but are stiff enough to control. I highly recommend them to artists who want more from their brushes but don't want to spend a fortune.
Note: my reference photo is courtesy of photographer Anita Guinane from PMP
Note #2: It seems I can't get a decent photo of this painting although not w/o lack of trying. I hope the background looks like a soft ocher on other monitors and not neon greenish yellow like on mine. *sigh*