1.  I wandered from my usual modus operandi and put the background in first. The blues and oranges closely mimic the colors of the bird.
Western Bluebird  watercolor demo
3. Kingfishers are just that; kings in the world of small birds that fish. If you spot a kingfisher perched on dead wood overhanging water, watch patiently as it scans the water, then quickly flies out and dives in beak-first. In seconds, it rises, and in one smooth motion, goes from swimming to flying, almost always with a small fish as a prize.
2.  The kingfisher has somewhat coarse feathers which were best created with a wet-on-dry technique with a few soft edges. Only the female has a rusty orange "belt" across her belly.

Watercolor Demos
Western Bluebird &
Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher 8"x10" ©2015

With her spiked hairdo and oversized beak, this female kingfisher has a prehistoric look. 
Belted Kingfisher
watercolor demo
Western Bluebird in watercolor by artist Lisa Hill
Western Bluebird watercolor demo step 1
Western Bluebird watercolor demo step 2
Western Bluebird watercolor demo step 3
Watercolor demonstration of Western Bluebird step 4
Western Bluebird  10"x 8"  ©2016

There's no blue like the ultramarine blue of a Western Bluebird. Could crushed sapphire crystals compete with this brilliant bird? 
1.  Developing some of the shadowed areas of the bird's plumage using a bluish-gray, and just getting started with some blue on the throat.
2.  For the rusty breast, I use small strokes of the brush wet-on-dry, and use another brush with clean water to blur out some of the edges. 

The yellow on the branch is the basis for the intense greenish-yellow lichen growing abundantly on Ponderosa Pines.
3. More blue is brushed onto the bird's throat, wings and tail. Brown and rusty orange applied in a range of values mimic the chunky pine bark that flakes off in shapes like jigsaw puzzle pieces.
4.  Sporting a rich rusty breast and a sparkle in his eye, this male Western Bluebird looks like my idea of the "bluebird of happiness". I just hope he stays out of my Christmas tree.
Belted Kingfisher in watercolor by artist Lisa Hill
Watercolor demo of Belted Kingfisher step 1
Watercolor demo of Belted Kingfisher step 2
Watercolor demo of Belted Kingfisher step 3
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