A lot of people ask me how I come up with ideas for my art. It usually happens in a roundabout way; I hear a song, or see something that gets me thinking.
Here’s how I came up with the idea for my newest collage. I’ve been wanting to do a collage with grackles for quite a while, but wasn’t sure what the composition would be. I started looking for some grackle photos online at PaintMyPhoto ( which has some great reference photos, by the way). I found some excellent references and then started playing with a composition on my photo editor.
To me, it looked like they were gossiping, so I was trying to think of a title about gossip. Gossiping Grackles wasn’t too exciting. Grackle Cackle was a strong contender, but it just wasn’t right. I like to put music and words in my collage, so I decided to do some research into songs about gossip. One of the songs that stood out was I Heard it Through the Grapevine, a song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown Records in 1966. My favourite version is by Marvin Gaye.
Well, that solved my composition problem and gave me a title for the piece! The grackles could be sitting on a grapevine, and I could have the music and lyrics throughout the collage. I hope to enter this into the annual Paint Ontario juried exhibit in a few days. Also, these are numbers 12, 13 and 14 of my 100 Birds challenge!
I was busy yesterday and didn’t get a watercolor done, so decided to do a quick one today. We’ve been experiencing quite the weather rollercoaster here. Last week, it was excruciatingly cold, this week rain, freezing rain and chance of thunderstorms this evening. More like something these three friends would enjoy!
Today it is -20 degrees Celsius, sunny but blowing and drifting snow. I’m watching our flag whip in the wind and birds huddled under the feeder.
It’s on days like this I daydream about going wherever these little birds go in the winter. It’s got to be better than this!
Here’s a little Ruby Throated Hummingbird. We are always so thrilled when they come to visit in the summer. They are so fiesty! They fight each other to get at the feeder, and even take on the yellow jackets in the early fall.
If you look closely at this painting, you can see where I applied some iridescent paint over top of the watercolor to make his feathers shine. This is a tiny ACEO (art trading card). He’ll soon be available in my Etsy shop, but you can pick him up now!
We finally got a taste of winter here in Southwestern Ontario this past weekend. While I’m not a big fan of the white stuff, I have to admit to enjoying the cozy feeling of watching it snow and blow while warm and snug inside.
I painted this fellow a couple of weeks ago at a painting play date at my friend’s house. Thank you, Char, for letting me experiment with your vibrant Dr. Ph. Martin’s liquid watercolours! They sure helped make this guy stand out!
It’s always a thrill to see a brilliant red cardinal, especially against a snowy backdrop. We all need a bit of colour in the wintertime! While most cardinals get all puffed up in the snow, this guy seems to be showing off his trim figure. I’ve decided to call him “Slim”.
My flock is getting bigger! Here are two more additions, an Eastern Bluebird (#5) and our old friend, the Indigo Bunting (#6). These are torn paper collage on a mixed media background. (Which was really hard to photograph, BTW!) I guess I’m wishing for spring already, because this pair is called Spring Song.
The song that kept going through my head while I was creating these was:
Blue Skies by Irving Berlin
Blue skies smilin’ at me Nothin’ but blue skies do I see Bluebirds singin’ a song Nothin’ but bluebirds all day long
We really enjoy watching the little nuthatches when they come to eat at our suet feeders. They are great acrobats and hang upside down and sideways to get at the food. This is a little female, and she has a good grip on that branch!
I have to admit that I really love this little warbler! He’s so tiny that he can sit at the very top of a cluster of crab apple buds. I looked in my bird book to see what kind of warbler he (or she) is, but couldn’t come up with a definitive answer. If any of you are birders, maybe you could help!
This is my final contender for the Twitter Art Exhibit. I’ll be deciding soon (with your help) which one to pick! I need to get it in the mail to send over to Scotland!
I’ve only seen this elusive little bird twice in my life, and for only a few seconds each. This is an Indigo Bunting, a tiny brilliant blue bird about the size of a sparrow, or smaller. The first time I saw it was when I was very young, at Rondeau Provincial Park in Ontario. The second time, was a few years ago in my backyard, perched on the fence around our pool and just long enough for me to say, “Oh!” and he was gone.
He’s another contender for the Twitter Art Exhibit. I like this little guy so much, I think I’ll do him again in collage and in a different setting. Stay tuned!
It’s a new year, and I’ve decided to embark on an adventure. This adventure will probably take more than a year, but I’m going to try to paint or collage 100 birds! Birds are one of my favorite subjects and there are thousands and thousands of species to choose from. Although I’m going to try and do as many different species as I can, I can’t promise that I won’t be sticking with a favourite or two! (Crows come to mind.)
Although I have done a couple of bird paintings fairly recently, I will start from when I decided to do the series, which was today!
This is a small watercolour, one of the contenders to enter the Twitter Art Exhibit this year. She is a lovely female cardinal and I’ve named her Northern Lady.