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!
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!
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
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!