This is a painting of neutrals with a splash of color, an arrangement I love. I used ultramarine blue, vandyke brown and sepia to make variations of gray and brown. I added quinacridone gold to the blue to create greens and Winsor Deep Red for the berries.
While viewing the image on the left above I could clearly see the pathways of dark and light and how they weren't leading my eye through the sketch. And since this sketch is a bit of a map for a future painting, I went back in and added the darks you see on the right and in the final sketch (top). Generally, I like to begin with the background when I start a painting, to see how the colors and light play out. Then I work with the painting focus to make sure these same colors are reflected in the subject.
In the end the sketch was wonderful practice. I noticed and corrected details in the placement of the eye, the shape of the beak, the shape of the white feather pattern against the black cap. I also noticed snow. It's crusty and irregular. I lost my snow shapes easily. So, with my sketch to remind me, I'll draw the snow detail more carefully in the final painting.
Inauguration day. New hope and new energy for the world.