Draw A Bird, December 2022

Hi Friends! Recently, my husband and I were at a restaurant that used paper coasters beneath our beverages, but the coasters were plain white rather than printed with the restaurant’s logo and inspired me to create ornaments!

Ornaments, Snowman and Star & Partridge in a Pear Tree
Ornaments, Snowman and Star & Partridge in a Pear Tree, Viv’s December art challenge

Because watercolor doesn’t work well on plain paper, I painted the coasters with watercolor grounds, which coat the paper so that water won’t sink in, and the paint flows easier. My watercolor friend, Viv, hosted a December challenge, which I painted on the coasters rather than in a sketchbook or on the usual watercolor paper (and the challenge included a Partridge in a Pear Tree and Two Turtle Doves). I was really happy with the results and decided to paint on both sides of the coasters since Christmas tree ornaments tend to hang wonky and spin around to the back. A few embellishments on the top hid the ribbon hole, and some Tim Holtz Distress Glaze sealed the paintings. These were delightful subjects to make even though I generally don’t paint so small with so much detail.

Deer and Two Turtle Doves
Deer and Two Turtle Doves on reverse side

Hope you are enjoying your holiday preparations for Christmas, Hannukah, or whatever holiday you celebrate, and please stay well. ❤

Draw A Bird, November 2022

Hi friends. Hope you are doing well.

I’ve actually had a lot of opportunities to paint recently, which brings much happiness! This quick turkey illustration was fun and inspired by my friend, Viv Cooper @artwithviv. She taught me some illustration work and that every painting doesn’t have to be so detailed; illustration is a breath of fresh air! She does amazing work with illustrations as well as realistic watercolor and colored pencil, and I’ve learned a lot from her. You should check out her blog and artwork, and she was sweet enough to make me her student of the month! Viv also takes commissions and offers some free classes. I’m honored to be spotlighted on her blog, so thank you very much, Viv!

Watercolor Turkey Illustration

Naturally, a turkey is perfect for November’s Draw A Bird, and I can’t believe Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away here in the U.S. I’m planning some fun family celebrations and am excited to see everyone because many of us haven’t seen each other since Father’s Day, or even longer! I hope to have some free time soon to blog what I’ve been working on in the past few months, but if I don’t get to it before the end of November, I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! ❤

Draw A Bird, October 2022

Finally, fall has arrived. The trees are showing brilliant colors, the air is crisp, and sweaters are needed.

It’s so chilly that this owl needs a mustache to stay warm – lol. This is a white-faced owl and is rather small compared to other owls. It’s not a good flyer but jumps around on the ground and on lower brush limbs in search of small prey. His eyes are so eerie, which makes him a great subject for Halloween.

Autumn Owl
Autumn Owl

Autumn is my favorite time of year with its vibrant colors, earthy scents, and cozy clothes. What’s your favorite season? Take care 💖

Draw A Bird, September 2022

We just returned from an adventurous trip to Alaska and are blessed to have visited there twice. This trip was planned for August 2020, but “you-know-what” happened and the trip was cancelled. Things seemed pretty much back to normal, but some restaurants had closed and some places were short-staffed, but that seems to be the current situation all over the U.S.

Previously I made scrapbooks of our travel adventures but stopped doing so a few years ago. When we moved last year, I realized just how many trip scrapbooks I’ve made, how much work I put into them, and how little we look at them. However, after each trip that I did not scrap, there was a feeling of disappointment and let-down because nothing was documented and because we had just a smattering of photos on our cell phones. However, I think I’ve found a happy medium.

On a YouTube video, Lindsay Weirich (The Frugal Crafter) featured handmade watercolor sketchbooks gifted by an Etsy shopkeeper, ArtsiRosi. I purchased a small book made with Arches cold press watercolor paper (the best), packed up a Portable Painter Watercolor Palette, a Derwent push-button water brush, and a few other essentials. Sketching our way through Alaska and detailing some of the highlights was so satisfying and fun. I drew and painted in the car while traveling from city to city, in the evenings, and on the plane.

View from the Plane
View from the Plane

Because it is Draw A Bird day (unofficially), here are two of the many species of birds we saw. I have always wanted to see a Puffin in its own environment, and boy were there puffins (horned and tufted)! The ravens are bold and huge and likely could feed a family of four, but that’s probably not recommended 😉

Tufted Puffin
Tufted Puffin
Nevermore, A Common Raven

It’s joyful to remember where these quick-ish sketches (definitely not masterpieces) were created, and the plan is to feature some favorites over the next couple of weeks. Do you document your trips? What methods do you use? Take care ❤

Draw A Bird, July 2022

Because it’s July and we just celebrated the birthday of the USA, I painted a bald eagle, our national bird.

American Bald Eagle

Did you know that three birds were voted upon for the USA’s official national symbol: an eagle, a dove, and a turkey? Although the eagle is a symbol of strength and courage, good old Ben Franklin felt it was a bird of “bad moral character” and that the turkey was a much more respectable bird and more “North American.” I would have voted for the dove, a symbol of peace, love, and freedom. I don’t like to talk politics, but somehow, at this point, maybe Ben Franklin’s choice might have been more appropriate, and the quizzical look on this eagle’s face seems to agree. 🙂

Draw A Bird, May 2022

This portrait of a bossy blue jay was a pleasure to paint: so calming and meditative, which is the exact opposite of a blue jay’s personality!

While they are known to be bullies at the feeders, they also “jeer” a loud call in order to track their mates and to warn of impending threats. When that happens, all the birds fly off and take cover.

Bossy Blue Jay
Bossy Blue Jay

Hearing their urgent, incessant caws gets our attention, too, and we try to figure out what all the squawking is about. Usually it is a cat or large raptor getting too close for comfort. Blue jays truly are the town criers of the avian species!