My process begins with the bird. I will find them out in the wild, in my own backyard, or sometimes somewhere in between. Inspiration can find me anywhere. I photograph the birds - sometimes photos come in the thousands. I then sift through the photos to find the one or two that really speak to me.
The next step is sketching: filling up my sketchbook with ideas for paintings. The ideas don't always come from the bird, occasionally ideas are inspired by process or material. I then build a box frame out of pine and hardboard masonite and anywhere from 5 to 10 layers of gesso. the gesso is sanded down for a smooth finish. I do this so that the texture is from my painting. The texture of canvas is distracting and too repetitive. I use watercolor ground on the board for watercolors. There are times I change the shape of the board, doing so creates a painting that also incorporates sculptural thoughts.
I then paint my painting with either oil paint or watercolor. Sometimes I throw in a medium like chalk pastel or encaustic. I work mostly in layers of 4 or 5 with complete drying of each layer. Oil paint can take up to a week to dry enough for the next layer - watercolor wait times are more like 10 mins. After the painting is completed I then varnish it with satin finish if it is oil paint - art resin if it is watercolor.