This little guy was all puffed up on a cool day, making him look quite chubby. I love his pose, because it seems like he’s saying, “Who are you calling chubby??”
These tiny sparrows arrive in the early spring around here. I noticed the other day that they are still around, and they are actually quite bold! One was hopping around my feet while I was filling the feeders, and flew right up to getting something to eat as soon as I hung the feeder back up.
I had already done this little sweetie in collage, but decided to try him again but this time in watercolour. I wish we saw them at our feeders, but although I sometimes hear one, I have never actually seen one in our yard. I know you’re out there. Come on over, my little chickadee!
I can’t get enough of these beautiful birds. That bright orange against the black is so striking! They don’t seem as interested in the oranges we have out for them right now. They must be on to other food, but once in a while one will come and have a quick bit of orangey goodness for desert!
As soon as the leaves start popping out on the trees, we put out oranges for the Baltimore Orioles that come up from the south. Soon we hear their melodious song and the first oriole shyly checks out the oranges and the hummingbird feeders. Soon they become very bold and can’t get enough of those luscious oranges!
In my part of the world, we’ve been getting lots and lots of rain. It’s nice weather if you’re a duck, but I’m getting a bit tired of it! But here’s a little duckling that would cheer anyone up, even on a cold rainy day. We could have had some of these in our yard if I had let the Mallard pair swimming in the water on top of our pool tarp stick around. I wasn’t too sad to see them go however, as our dog Maggie probably wouldn’t have played nicely with the little hatchlings!
I had nothing but problems with this painting. When I first worked on it, the background got away from me and got too dark. Then I had trouble with the little fish in his mouth. I worked on that silly fish for days. Also, I worked on it up on an easel, but when I took it down, I realized the support was warped.
I got good feedback on it however, and decided to try and un-warp it and enter it into a show. It wasn’t accepted, and when I went to pick it up, I realized that the new medium I tried for adhering the collage paper had turned milky! And the supports went back to their original warpedness. Grrr. That was enough of that. It was banished to the closet to serve hard time in the dark.
The thing was, it kept whispering to me, usually late at night when I was trying to sleep. So about six months later, I got it back out. My first step was to take the canvas off the old support and put it on a new one. I only gouged one finger getting the staples out! Then got rid of that darn fish and closed the heron’s beak. With a cry of “No Mercy!” (in my head), I slapped white gesso all over the background, leaving a bit of the orange around the edges of the heron, thinking I might use some of that later.
It stayed like that for a day or two, while I stewed and asked myself, “What the heck do I do now?” But I asked some of my wonderful friends their opinions, and that gave me a kickstart. (Thanks Lauren and Tom! And you too, Char. I had asked you a while ago.)
I added some washy colour around the heron, and some reeds. The bottom needed a bit more darks, so added a few. I found patterns in the paper that I used on the bird and accentuated them and placed some similar ones throughout the painting. Finally, I played around with some coloured pencils and oil pastels to add some pops of colour and texture.
I think I’m done now, and it sure has changed! For the better, I think. Now I just have to come up with a title…
Here is another experiment with mixed media. I wanted to get a deep rich green for the background of this little marsh wren, but wasn’t getting the effects I desired with watercolour. Instead of using acrylics this time to enhance the background, I went for coloured pencil. I found I couldn’t stop myself and added them to the bird also! So this little guy isn’t as loose as I had wanted him to be, but I think he’s cute anyway. You can find him in my Etsy shop HERE, or leave a comment below if you are interested in purchasing this little fellow.
According to Lifescience.com, “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!
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:
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!