The past six days saw the halfway point of Leslie Saeta’s 30 in 30 painting challenge, and I decided, right at the last minute, to do six Robin paintings. I love Robins, they’re my spirit animal :) This was the closest the challenge has got to feeling like realistic drawing too, most likely due to using photo reference.

I also feel like I was pushed, and learnt the most this past six days, but first … here’s the six Robin Paintings I produced :)

DAYS 13 TO 18


DAY 13 • ROBIN 1 [Size: 20x20cm]
I will forever have a soft spot for this little dude, I had seven photos printed out and he was the one who I felt inspired to paint first :)

DAY 14 • ROBIN 2 [Size: 20x20cm]
I love this Robins shape, I like to think she’s puffing her belly out, ready to start singing :)

DAY 15 • ROBIN 3 [Size: 20x20cm]
Again, another Robin whose shape I adored. I like the way his back is straight, against his round belly … makes me feel nice inside the shape of this one :)

DAY 16 • ROBIN 4 [Size: 20x20cm]
I really like the look in this Robin’s face, and it was the first time I ever tried to paint some textures with the snow; I enjoyed doing this one.

DAY 17 • ROBIN 5 [Size: 20x20cm]
This Robin is my personal favourite and is hanging up on my wall, they’re the only Robin I Painted that looks full and fluffy. The others are a bit too flat and lacking depth, but this one I feel like I could squeeze them :) 

DAY 18 • ROBIN 6 [Size: 20x20cm]
The background for this one was originally pink, I was going off script and making stuff up for the first time lol, but it looked horrible, so I made it blue instead. I also put too much paint on the Robins feathers, losing any chance of doing texture and details with the paint so thick and wet.


It’s actually quite hard for me to write what I learnt this time. I feel like I learnt so much, yet it was all sort of feeling things, like, feeling how paint behaves on top of super thick wet paint, vs on thin wet paint. How the colours blend into each other, and how you have to compensate by using slightly different colours to allow for the mixing that will take place on the canvas.

Like the six high heels still life paintings, I noticed how you need to use colours darker than what you want, when placing them on top of still wet paint, else it will just merge in and do nothing but make the canvas thicker :) This past six days were the first since starting the challenge, where I didn’t end each painting session with loads of paint still on the palette; that made me the most happy.

Day 14 was interesting too, I sat down to paint, only to realise I had forgot to prime the canvas with Gesso. I started painting anyway, and it felt so odd. The paint seemed to get lost in the canvas, and didn’t behave like it normally did. I’m glad this ‘mistake’ happened though, because it made me realise how important it is to prime the canvas.

I guess the main thing I learnt this week, was that less is more. You really don’t need that much paint, and if you do need more, you can easily squeeze a bit more out later, rather than squeezing loads out at the start and not using it like I had been doing previously :)


Painting these Robins from photographs was the most fun yet, but, it also highlighted my limited skills the most, which is kind of like a paradox. Adding details is so hard, I do think it’s because I’m under time constraints to complete each painting in a couple hours each day, and so can’t wait for the paint to dry before trying to add details, but even so, even if the paint was dry, I know I would still struggle to get nice sharp edges, or nice accurate shapes.

The robins eyes for instance, it’s amazing how hard it is to paint a circle; adding the little white dot on the eye is even harder, this is one thing I’m certain needs to be done only once the paint underneath is dry.

I started experimenting with textures for the first time too, trying to create fluffy snow, and soft bushy feathers. I’ve been doing all of these paintings with just one medium sized brush so far, maybe I should experiment with smaller brushes and stuff, but I always like to keep things limited when learning new skills, as it stops me getting overwhelmed.

So it might be I’m using the wrong brush for the job, but this isn’t about creating works of art, it’s 30 days of doing my best, playing around with the paint and having fun. Looking at it that way, this past six days were my most successful yet.


I’m writing this post on day 20, so I’ve already finished two more paintings … for the next block of six paintings I’ll be trying out Plein Air Watercolour Painting. That sounds a bit posh, it’s more just me out with nature sketching, and throwing some watercolour on top lol

You can play along with this challenge by visiting Leslie Saeta’s 30 in 30 Painting Challenge and signing up :)


Bob Ross