Susan Bourdet

Susan Bourdet: Bold & Beautiful: Backyard Wildlife in Watercolor


Video Length: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
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Wildlife painter and print artist Susan Bourdet develops her painting from concept to signature.

Susan demonstrates tips on photographing wildlife, how to create luminous wet-into-wet backgrounds, dry brush weathered wood knot holes and nails, use of gouache to add sunlit sparkle, spattering, how to achieve depth while maintaining the illusion of soft feathering, and a cascade of delicate vibrant flowers. This video compresses an extended process into 75 information-packed minutes with short cuts, product tips and safe guards.

Bring backyard scenes to life in your studio with Susan Bourdet. In this watercolor workshop you'll combine the best elements from your favorite photos as you paint realistic, organic textures around a delicate goldfinch. Your wildlife scene will burst with light as you work from a luminous wet-into-wet background to sunlight sparkles made with white gouache.

Susan starts with tips on attracting and photographing wildlife. She pulls intriguing images from her reference library and combines her favorite aspects from each in a single, structured composition.

You'll use extensive masking to control colorful background washes. You'll master Susan's secrets for painting realistic wood, complete with rusty nails and knotholes, and you'll create striking contrast between textured petals and smooth leaves in the nasturtiums. Susan maintains an organic look with soft edges and spattering, and she finishes the workshop with a realistic illustration of the bird.

You'll learn to paint striking scenes of the view from your porch in Bold & Beautiful: Backyard Wildlife in Watercolor with Susan Bourdet.



In this clip from her video workshop, Bold & Beautiful: Backyard Wildlife, watercolorist Susan Bourdet shows you how to paint a colorful wet-into-wet background wash. Susan uses four pigments and two brushes to add deep, variegated tones to her wildlife scene. You learn how to tilt your paper to make colors move and blend.


About Susan Bourdet

Susan Bourdet grew up in western Montana, learning early to love nature. Her luminous watercolors combine realistically detailed birds and animals with soft, impressionistic backgrounds, a technique that has evolved through her twenty years of painting. She discovered watercolor at age twelve, being captivated by a local artist's demonstration. She majored in art and biology, her two great loves, while at Montana State University. After graduation, she struggled to find a way to combine her two interests, working as an artist for a ceramics company and later as a pharmacy technician. For years, she taught watercolor at a local community college in Oregon, where she moved in 1974. Susan's career as a professional artist didn't really begin until 1980, when she was raising her two children and needed to work at home. Trying to find her place in the art gallery scene, she joined a support group of nature artists and began to show her work in local galleries. In 1989, her paintings were discovered in a Portland gallery by Wild Wings. She now has over sixty limited editions and her work is featured in a yearly songbirds calendar published by Bookmark. She is the author of Painting the Allure of Nature, published by Northlight Books and is working on a second book for that company. Her newest instructional venture is a video entitled Bold and Beautiful, Backyard Wildlife in Watercolor, produced by Creative Catalyst. Her paintings have been featured in shows and exhibitions all over the country, including the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum's Birds in Art and the Society of Animal Artists' Art and the Animal.