Oil Painting for Bird Carvers
Learn to paint beautiful bird feathers by watching up close on your schedule, at your own home.
Braden Maddox | Huntingdon, TN
"I had no experience other than just watching just your videos but I was able to have an understanding from how you
were explaining stuff. Had I not taken your course, who knows how long it would have taken me to
I was able to get better results than I imagined I would have."
You've spent hours carving a beautiful bird...
and you want to paint it with oils... now what?!? Maybe you've painted your birds with acrylic paint in the past, and you don't know where to start.
Maybe you've never painted a bird, but you admire the birds you've seen other carvers paint with smooth feather transitions in oil paints...
Maybe, you've tried oils but you're frustrated with sloppy lines, or you've tried to blend your paints and all you're getting is a smeared mess.
It's time to learn some new skills, but:
Where do you start?
There just isn't much out there for bird carvers using oil paints, is there? Instructions, I mean. Sure, there's out-of-print books. And even if you get your hands on the books, then what? It's kind of like trying to learn to drive by reading about it. Imagine if, when you learned to drive, like most of us, you took a class in high school. But this time, all instruction was held entirely in the classroom, behind a desk. You go through the textbook, take a few multiple choice tests, and boom-- someone throws you the keys to the car, and it's time to jump right into the city, navigate the interstate, and go visit grandma. Except,
You're driving solo.
That's kind of what your choices are for learning oil painting. Did you ever see anybody on an internet forum say "just spend 100 hours with a brush and figure it out?"
And what about trying to glean information from other carvers, who are having a deep discussion with each other about the best medium to use when painting? How in the heck are you supposed to learn from that?
Do you want to know the secret behind learning to paint with oils on your birds?
It's not a favorite blending medium. It's not a list of colors you need to purchase, or even a brand of brush. You learn to oil paint by watching someone who already knows what they're doing. You sit beside them, or stand over their shoulder, and notice how they use the brush. What they mix into the paint. What order they do things in. The kinds of things that are just too hard to explain with the written word.
I've put together a video course that shows you how to paint. Stand over my shoulder (the camera's perspective)-- and watch EXACTLY what to do to achieve simple, beautiful feather blends.
In the course, I make a few HUGE assumptions:
✔️ Your neighbor isn't a world champion bird carver/painter.
✔️ You're starting from ground zero, with no prior knowledge of oil painting.
✔️ You're ready to learn to paint by DOING.
At this point, I thought you'd like to see what is in the course.
What's in the course?
- Individual feather blending
- adding lighting effects with paint to enhance the 3D-look
- smooth gradient blends over large feather groups
- primping your feathers to breathe life into them and make them "POP!"
- head scratching to simulate fine feather details
Tools & Preparation
- sealing and priming your wood
- laying out your feather groups using a grisaille technique to separate your lights and darks
- steps to take on your bird to protect your delicate paint brushes!
- using alkyd based paints along side your tube oils to speed drying time and effect final paint finish
You'll also get a lot of tips & tricks along the way to SIMPLIFY painting with artist's oils.
The course is divided into two sections:
Learn, Implement, and Support
During this module you'll be watching the videos I have prepared for you, and painting along with the exercises. We will hold weekly live support calls to answer ANY of your questions about the exercise or oil painting.
Implement, Support, and Critique
During the second module, you'll catch up on any exercises you have not yet completed. We will do critiques and cheer each other on in the private Facebook group. We will also continue to hold our weekly live support calls.
Wait, give it to me in plain english...
Yeah, ok, there are a lot of bullet points in the course description above.
Total time spent viewing video lessons: approximately 3 hours. Total time spent on mastering your own technique: (much, much more than you anticipated!)
Here's what you need to know about the course:
FIRST and FOREMOST... you do NOT have to have any experience with oil paints to follow these lessons! One of the things I pride myself in is that I am able to break the problem down for you as if you had exactly zero experience-- nothing left out! You also do not need to be an anatomy savant-- meaning-- if you don't know what the name of a feather is, you won't be left behind! I have provided feather templates for you with the course, so if you're still struggling at drawing the major feather groups, or don't even know what they are... you CAN DO THIS!
The video lessons are filmed as I paint on flat practice boards. I did that for three main reasons:
✔️ So that you could follow the exercises right away, without having to stop and carve a bird first to paint on
✔️ To make the videos a higher quality: by painting on a flat surface, you can see exactly what I'm doing without a feather curving away from the camera, down the side of the bird or up over the back
✔️ Practice is paramount! Flat boards give you a quick and easy way to work on your paint strokes, blending techniques, and paint colors between birds, and there is no worry about feather size or body attitude of the bird you are painting
The feathers I paint in the lessons are from a gadwall duck. I chose this species because the colors are simple variations of greys. Most of the painting uses only titanium white and raw umber. You can paint along with these lessons in any colors you choose--
the techniques are not specific to one species of bird...
I strongly suggest, no, IMPLORE you to get out your brushes and paints and practice boards and follow along with the lessons. This is a HANDS-ON course. You will learn to blend feathers the absolute best possible way- by virtually looking over my right shoulder and getting a close-up view of my palette, my paint mixing, brush strokes, and blending! The ONLY better way to get this level of instruction is to be physically with me or another teacher-- and to be able to interrupt and ask questions.
And speaking of that-- interrupting and asking questions: all you have to do is hit PAUSE on the video and type a question in the comments on the Facebook group! Besides that, I will be holding a weekly, hour long live support call to talk through any of your questions that we just can't make sense of on the computer screen!
Are ya with me so far?
While I was setting this all up, I got to thinking...
After you've learned the basics of fine blending and crisp edges, what's next?
While the video content covers everything you need to take your painting to the next level,
I've put together a package of three bonuses worth over $4500...
Take a look:
Simple Feather Layout for Duck Decoys
No more guessing. No more cookie cutter wing parts stamped on your bird at odd, counter-intuitive angles.
This video tutorial shows a quick, flowing layout in a paint-by-numbers fashion. If you can break up a distance into halfs or thirds, you can create a pleasing, stylish, and anatomically correct layout for your duck carving that shows the major feather groupings so you can pop the color on that wing and have everything look "just right."
INCLUDED in this bonus is a step-by-step PDF that you can print out and follow on your paint bench for years to come.
The Plain Areas Are the Hardest --Richard Le Master, Wildlife in Wood
In these videos you will learn two simple, fun techniques to add spice to those large areas of "black" on your birds. If you sell your carvings, you can slap an extra $50 or $100 on the price of each bird once you've taken these easy steps to bring your bird to life.
Puddle Duck Hen Feathers (*not just for ducks...)
So, you've laid out all the feathers on that hen... now what?!?
You paint wet-on-wet, that's what you do. Take a peek over my shoulder as I explain the colors and blending techniques to achieve soft, beautiful hen feathers with POP. Yes, there are a few extra steps here, compared to the painting in the rest of the video lessons- and yes, like every other lesson I assume you have no clue of where to begin.
You simply couldn't get this level of instruction without taking a week of vacation, hopping on a plane, and spending thousands of dollars in exchange for instruction from a world champion carver. UNTIL NOW.
Value: $2700* note: many of my clients and friends focus most of their energy on carving ducks. This lesson is invaluable for painting all kinds of birds that show soft color transitions on the edges. Songbirds, shorebirds, wading & fishing birds, even owls and other raptors show these soft blends.
Jacob Passmore | Abilene, TX
"With Dave's instruction, I've watched my art quality go from a 2nd grader with a Crayon, to a respectable piece of work. It's worth the time, effort, and money to have Dave's instruction. It's invaluable for the progression I've received!!"
Philip Boyles | Kansas City, MO
"I thought you made it simple enough that I think anybody could do it and it didn't feel intimidating."
Wouldn't you like to:
✔️ learn simple, attractive anatomy so that your birds look "right"?
✔️ be proud of your feather blends?
✔️ finally understand how simple and fun it is to paint with oil?
✔️ SEE the process in real time, rather than read about it in a book or on the internet?
I can help you with all of these things-- I kept all of this (and more) in mind during the planning and recording of this course.
Don't take it from me:
"The way that you had it laid out, the progression was very good: starting from the simple line brush stroke to finishing up with the wet-on-wet blending on the hen side feathers. For me it was an easy progression to follow and work your way up to a little bit more complicated techniques."
Keith Floyd | Athens, AL
"We were working on the parts of a gadwall, and geez, that would be one of those birds that I would always be very reluctant to paint because there are a lot of different shades and colors. But then after going through the steps for each individual part... if I just take my time, I can replicate that. That was kind of a big a-HA! moment... I can do that!"
Tony Banks | Prince George, VA
"Last spring Dave invited me out to his house for a weekend of carving and painting. I’m somewhat of a beginner having only carved a dozen or so hunting decoys. Dave had three redheads carved, sealed, and primed ready for paint. He gave each of us one and walked us through each step explaining every detail along the way as we painted our own. The finished product was a fireplace mantel worthy piece of art. We also carved a complete head step by step. The amount of new knowledge that I left Dave’s house with has since changed my carving and painting for the better. Every one that is just starting out or that just needs to better theirselves in certain areas could definitely benefit from Dave’s knowledge. Thanks again Dave for a wonderful weekend of learning."
Terry Hightower Jr. | Porter, TX
If you've come this far and haven't enrolled yet,
You probably have questions. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions I've had about the course so far...
Is there a timeline I have to follow to take this program or can I do it in my own time?
Because this is an online program, you will be able to follow along on a schedule that suits your own circumstances. Think of it like the streaming TV service Hulu: you can watch the video tutorials as soon as they come out, and do the painting exercises, or you can binge watch them if you have fallen behind due to vacation, work, or family commitments.
Is there a guarantee, in case I feel it’s not right for me?
I’m offering a 30-day, no questions asked money back guarantee. If you join the community and feel like the program is not right for you, just let me know and your money will be refunded with no hard feelings! The 30-day guarantee period will begin after all course material has been delivered to you.
What if I’ve got no clue as to where to begin, don’t have the materials, and have never painted anything- I’m a total beginner- will this course even help me, or do I need to start with private coaching first?
The videos in the course are designed for absolute beginners who have never painted anything. I will cover what materials are necessary, where to get them, and how to save money by avoiding unnecessary purchases.
If you don’t know the difference between a maxilla and a mandible, this course is for you. If you’re one of the few that DOES know the difference between a maxilla and a mandible, but want to learn how to blend oil paints for beautiful, smooth feather transitions, this course is also for you!
My goal is to take you by the hand and make sure you have exactly what you need to succeed regardless of where you are in the learning curve.
I’ve never taken an online course before and I’m not sure I’m comfortable with it. How does it work?
Actually, it's super simple! The course is a series of video content that are designed to be short and to the point-- but they are ALSO designed with a raw beginner in mind. My goal is for you to follow along and do the paint exercises each day with me. If anything isn't sinking in, just ask!
Where is the course located? How do I find it/access the material? What if my computer breaks- will I lose any of my work?
The program will be entirely hosted on Facebook in a private group. All you will have to do is open Facebook on any device to see the lessons.
Do I need to carve a specific bird to follow along with the course?
Not at all! All the painting CAN be done on a bird, but I encourage all students to follow along with the exercises on flat practice boards. This is a quick and easy method to follow along and learn by DOING. Besides the practice boards, it's important to know that the techniques I will be demonstrating are useful for painting any bird... and not just a duck, either! My demonstration boards will be based on a gadwall duck, but you could follow the same steps to paint, for example, a green-winged teal, just using different colors!
What kind of format is the program in, and are there worksheets for the lessons?
The course is in video format. As someone who has struggled with learning oil painting techniques from books, I strongly believe that the easiest, most enjoyable way to learn is to watch it being done.
Occasionally I may post a file of useful information that is better in document form, such as a list of materials, etc, so that you don’t have to watch and re-watch a video for specific small tidbits of information.
What kind of support do I get during the course?
If you sign up for the coaching package at the special Early Bird offer, you will receive two private coaching calls with me to discuss any issues you are having with the exercises, in addition to having your questions answered in the group.
If you sign up for just the course itself, you will be able to join the live support calls I'm holding once per week, and I'll also visit the group to answer any of your questions.
What if I miss a live support call?
All live support calls are recorded and you will receive a link to the recordings after each call. All Facebook Live videos are saved and posted in the group.
Is there anything else I should know about the course?
The course is presented to you in the private Facebook group, which will serve as a place for you to share your comments, questions, and insights in a safe, supportive and private setting.
Everyone in the group will be respectful, supportive and encouraging, as they are all in the same boat as you and wanting to help you succeed as well.
One last thing...
You should know that after I’m done buying band-aids, I donate 10% of all my profits to the National Audubon Society, a non-profit organization that works to defend wild birds and protect their habitat.
My course comes with a 30-day, no questions asked guarantee. You have nothing to lose!
So if you're ready to take your painting to the next level, enroll now!
"It can get a little bit overwhelming when you look at a whole bird, painted, and you see a lot of stuff going on...
but when you put it on the [flat practice] board like you did, it was very easy to say, all right, this is the exact technique we're putting together.
Keeping it with minimum distractions is what made it easier for me."