Last fall some friends and I took a birding boat tour and I got a lot of great photos, even with my less than spectacular camera.
These terns are sitting on a channel marker on which a nest, probably an osprey nest, was built.
I really had, have, no idea how to paint the tangle of branches and twigs. There was never any possibility that I could, as soany artists do so well, paint it in a detailed, realistic way.
So my plan was: paint a light wash, let it dry, then add darks, a bit at a time, leaving some of the light wash showing.
It's readable, I think. But next time I may try to add some pure color.
Below, a sketch of a tern in a characteristic pose, the one Audubon painted.