An “Unkindess” of Ravens! Birds # 27, 28, and 29 of 100

According to, “A group of ravens is called an “unkindness” or “conspiracy,” which seems fitting, since ravens are traditionally considered creepy; in fact, seeing many of them in one place can induce Hitchcockian “The Birds”-like flashbacks in even the least ornithophobic (those people with a fear of birds).”

I, however, find ravens and crows fascinating because they are so smart, and also beautiful with their glossy black feathers and large size.

I’ve been experimenting with mixed media quite a bit in my bird series. I did these two trouble-makers with a mix of acrylics, colored pencils, and soft pastels. Here are Heckle and Jeckle!

Heckle – Mixed Media 5 X 7″ on paper $45 CAD plus shipping and handling
Jeckle – Mixed Media 5 X 7″ on Paper $45 CAD plus shipping and handling

I also had a chance to try out some water soluble graphite with help from my friend Tom, who kindly let me use them for this guy:

Loudmouth – Graphite on paper 8″ X 10″ $100 CAD plus shipping and handling.

Mixed Media Monday – Bird # 26 of 100 – Blue Jay

This is another painting that started out its life as a watercolour, then morphed into a mixed media piece! I do like the way it ended up.

We really enjoy watching the Blue Jays that come to our yard, especially when we put out peanuts. They are very smart and pick each one up, weighing them to see which one is the heaviest, then fly off with their prize. As the peanut supply goes down, they get less picky, and it is a race between them and the squirrels to see who gets the most!

This fellow is checking out some sunflower seeds.

Blue Jay – Mixed Media on paper. 5″ X 7″ $45 CAD plus shipping and handling

Watercolour Wednesday – Bird #25 of 100 – Blackburnian Warbler

I chose this bird because he is such a cutie! I’ve never actually seen one, although they apparently migrate through our neck of the woods.

You can find out more about this little warbler HERE.

I’m a quarter of the way through my 100 birds series!

Blackburnian Warbler – Watercolor and Ink on paper 5 X 7″ $45 CAD plus shipping and handling.
Reference photo courtesy of Rodney Campbell at PaintMyPhoto

Watercolor Wednesday – Bird # 24 of 100 – Red-winged Blackbird

When you hear the song of a Red-winged Blackbird, you know you’re in the country, probably near some wetlands. These handsome birds are a favorite of mine. They sometimes come to our feeders along with cowbirds in the summer.

Here is the song of the Red-Winged Blackbird from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Click here

Red-winged blackbird on cattails. Watercolour painting.
Country Music – Watercolor and Ink on Paper. 5″ X 7″ $45 CAD plus shipping and handling.

Watercolor SATURDAY! Bird #23 of 100 Meadowlark

I’m behind on my Watercolor Wednesdays, so I thought I’d post one on a Saturday! This is a quick little painting that I did yesterday afternoon. He got me out of a bit of a painting block, so I’m grateful for that!

This little songster is a Western Meadowlark. I’ve never seen one, but according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, our area in Southwestern Ontario is part of their breeding grounds.

For more information on this lovely bird, and to hear its song CLICK HERE.

Song of the Meadowlark 5 X 7″ Watercolor and Ink on Paper. SOLD
Reference photo courtesy of Linda Anderson on PaintMyPhoto

Playing Chicken!

Since I was kind of happy with the way my robin turned out after I made it into a mixed media piece, I decided to do a couple that were intentionally mixed media! For these, I painted the background of a couple of 5 X 7″ pieces of watercolor paper red, and drew out the chicken and rooster. I did a pretty rough painting with acrylics and then got out my colored pencils, oil pastels and soft pastels.

I really like how they ended up! It was fun experimenting with all the different tools I had on hand to see what I like and what I don’t. I ended up varnishing them, which was a bit of a mistake because I lost some of the soft pastel, even though I had used a special fixative. But a friend reminded me that I don’t need to varnish if I’m going to put it in a frame under glass! D’oh! I knew that, but had a senior moment, I guess!

Anyway, I love the attitude of that rooster, and the slightly startled look on the hen’s face.

King of the Coop 5 X 7″ Mixed Media on Paper $45 CAD

Queenie 5 X 7″ Mixed Media on Paper $45 CAD

Watercolor Wednesday – Bird #20 of 100

It won’t be long until the little goldfinches at our feeder start to get their yellow feathers back. It seems to happen overnight, and is a sure sign that spring is here to stay.

This little painting started out as a bigger one. He was sitting on the top of a drooping sunflower, but do you think I could get that sunflower right? Nope. I did like the bird though, so out came the scissors! Now it is ACEO sized, 2.5 X 3.5 inches. Someday, I might try that sunflower again.

Goldie – 2.5″ X 3.5″ Watercolor on paper $12 CAD

A Different Kind of Robin – Bird #19 of 100

Sometimes paintings work the first time around, and other times it’s a terrible mess. Yes, it’s true. Artists don’t alway make perfect paintings all time time! Sometimes we throw them away in frustration. Sometimes we rip them up and use them as collage material. Most of the time we think we’ve suddenly forgotten how to paint.

This robin was one of those unfortunate paintings. It was a watercolour that had gone terribly wrong. (I seem to be having a lot of these incidents recently!) He (or she) was sitting forlornly on the top of the trash basket in my studio. And I thought, “What the heck, let’s just play with him and see what happens.”

I threw much of my arsenal of media at this bird! I got out the acrylics. I scribbled with colored pencils. I scratched with regular pencils. I tried things with oil pastels. I did it almost angrily. It was quite therapeutic. In the end it still wasn’t perfect, but I kind of like it. It was a very different style and way of working for me. It taught me that when things aren’t going the way you expect, it’s okay to switch gears and go in a different direction.

A Different Kind of Robin – Mixed Media on paper 5.5″ X 7.5″ SOLD
Reference Photo by Jongsun Lee on Unsplash

Watercolour (kind of!) Wednesday – Birds # 15 and 16 of 100

It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow, and these two have started celebrating already! I had fun painting this pair of lovebirds. Yes, it was going along great until I really, really messed up the background and it became a muddy mess.

What to do? I didn’t want to start all over, so I got out my white acrylic paint and covered it over! And then I went even further and added some paper hearts. And a little crayon. Now it is truly a mixed media piece of art. And I actually kind of love it!

Sweethearts – Mixed Media on Paper 7″ X 5″ SOLD
Reference photo courtesy of Jonah Pettrich on Unsplash