Thursday, February 3, 2011

...more paintings for the challenge

Painting 108 - Northern Cardinal at Dusk
Watercolor, 12x16 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper

I saw this male cardinal at our local park. It was very cold and evening was starting to close in. He had puffed his feathers up for warmth and was strikingly beautiful against the dark winter sky. He is the same bird that shows up in painting three (Radioactive Cardinal) and in this post, but I painted him in a much looser style (I also darkened the sky...).

Painting 107 - Chiggy by Starlight
Watercolor, 7x10 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper

One evening a week or so ago I stocked the feeders around 9:00 p.m. anticipating a very cold morning with a covering of snow. It was so cold, and I was thinking about the little birds and how they were going to survive the long, cold night ahead. Birds have so many adaptations that help them foil the coldest of colds, but I still wondered if everyone was tucked in tight and ready to wait it out. It was nearly a full moon and the moon's light reflected off the snow in that quiet blue way that only happens deep in winter when the snow is thick on the ground. Stars swept across the sky and the immensity caused me to linger. Beauty is soft at night so it's always good to pause to take it all in, but my fingers were starting to protest so I had to move on, but before I went in "Chiggy by Starlight" popped into my head. I went inside and painted him, going over his white feathers with a fine-tipped white marker, hoping to capture the feel of the moon's glow...and the cold of the night.

Painting 106 - Green Topiary With One Red Bird Above and One Below
Watercolor, 9x12 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper

Summer heat was in mind as I painted this fun and quick painting (lots and lots of green to counteract the gray that descends in our area midwinter). It's a strange style for me, and it might be more art therapy than anything. The painting started as a watercolor and morphed into a watery acrylic. Along the way I carved a leaf stamp in an eraser (idea from Laure's blog) and stamped it all over using green acrylic paint. I then ran water over it to spread everything out. It makes me think of art I remember seeing as a child in the Swinging 60s, baby.

Painting 105 - Hummer Light
Watercolor, 6x8 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper

"Hummer Light" makes me happy--it's quick and sloppy with a feel of the moment. It's all watercolor--no sketching and probably created in under a minute. I really miss our hummers...they are nothing but watery memories right now...

Painting 104 - Sedgie in the High Meadow
Watercolor, 6x12 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper

I almost called this painting "Bad Sedgie" because of the Sedge Wren's annoying habit of diving into the cover of grass instead of sitting out in the open to be photographed. If you look in the bottom-right corner of the painting you can see a tiny Sedge Wren perched where he most often perches--nearly out of sight. I conjured this painting out of a memory from a sunny day in August of 2009 when a Sedge Wren visited VOA Park (he's never been back--post is here). Can you tell I'm missing the sun...and the green...and the flowers? Painting is an easy way to bring it back. Right now I'm working on a more detailed portrait of this little Sedge Wren. It should be finished soon.

25 comments:

Sue said...

I love ALL your paintings, but had to comment about your cheery , beautiful, scrumptious flowers. How eye-catching!!

YsMum said...

Wow...these are wonderful!! You are very talented!!

grammie g said...

Hi Kelly..the Cardninal and the Chickadee are just perfect !!
The field of flower are so bright and cheerful looks real inviting right about now after shovel snow half the day!! : }}

Out on the prairie said...

Cardinals really grab me, the only other red bird I see is the tanager.The wren in theflowers looks similar to some of the watercolors I do.Superb work!!!

Angela said...

They are all so lovely. How could you pick a favorite.

Janice K said...

I enjoyed them all, but especially loved that little Chickadee.

freebird said...

I love them all. They are all so different but good in their own way. I think I love the topiary best. That green is fabulous with the little red birds. I love the white feathers you put on the one bird and the meadow is super too. They are all just great.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Great paintings, Kelly. I like them all, but my fav was that chickadee.. Marvelous!!!!
Hugs,
Betsy

Montanagirl said...

Amazing. I love them all, but really do favor that Red Cardinal.

forgetmenot said...

Lovely cardinal painting, and I love the meadow picture---so simple but so pleasing to the eye. Nice work.

Anna said...

Kelly your paintings same as your photography are absolutely beautiful. I must point out that your photography and paintings have the same style yet beautiful and unique. Thanks for sharing, and hope all is well. Anna :)

dAwN said...

I love them all!!!

Roy said...

That last painting is so good Kelly. It would look good on the cover of any nature book.

Jayne said...

I LOVE all of these Kelly, and your talent simply continues to astound me my friend. :c)

Fleetwood Birder said...

Hello Kelly, I love your Cradinal painting. I have fond memories (I think!) of the 'nips' I used to get from them when banding them at Long Point Bird Observatory. Cheers, Seumus

Wanda..... said...

Love the beautiful Cardinal and Chickadee paintings, Kelly, the tendrils on the grapevine are so natural looking and those tiny feathers show your patience. Your sweet meadow scene of wild flowers makes me 'impatient' for Spring!

Kelly said...

Sue...thank you so much. If I can't see the flowers around me, I have to pull them out of my head and put them down on paper!

Robbie...I love you YsMum moniker...it makes me laugh! Thank you!

Grammie...with all the snow you guys get, I bet that field of flowers does look inviting! Thank you...

Steve...we need to see more of your watercolors! Thank you so much.

Angela...thank you. Hope you are feeling better soon.

Hi Janice! Thank you so much...

Hi Timaree! Thank you...It doesn't surprise me that you love the topiary...you're so good with color. Wish I lived out where you live...lots of sun!!

Betsy...Thank you so much...and I knew you would love that chickadee. It's your kind of bird! Sounds like you guys are missing the worst of the weather down there...lucky.

Mona...thank you! Nothing beats a Red in the snow...they are so common yet so extraordinary!!

Mickie...thank you! It was fun painting the meadow. I want to get better in that style and paint more...it's soothing.

Anna...thank you!! I see what you mean. A lot of times when I'm photographing something, it immediately becomes a painting in my mind. What I see through the lens sparks ideas and desires to paint. I hadn't thought about the similarities...

Thank you, Dawn! You're always so nice...

Roy...thank you! Man...that really makes me feel good! I would never have thought that. I was just trying to conjure a happy summer day in my head!

Jayne...thank you so much!! You're so nice...

Thanks, Seumus (great name!)...I bet you did get quite a few nips from the cardinals, and their bills are so powerful too!!

Wanda...thank you! You know...that's the first time I ever painted tendrils. I really enjoyed it. This year I'm going to try to continue to add in more backgrounds. I bet a few more tendrils show up!!

Sarah Knight said...

Wow! Fabulous work! And so many compositions!

Thanks for the cards, btw, they're gorgeous :D

Kelly said...

Thanks, Sarah! :-)

Ginnymo said...

Your bird paintings are always so perfectly done. They always look so real. I never could paint anything but "Paint By Numbers" Ha! Ha! But my daughter is a very good artist. I know you love your Cardinals the best!! What a great artist you are Kelly!!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

The cardinal and the sedgie are my favorites here. Have you thought about creating an ETSY shop perhaps with a line of greeting cards with these paintings?

Kelly said...

Ginny...thank you!! I've been drawing and painting since I was a little girl...

Adrienne...I haven't really thought about that yet, but I'd like to some day. I need to find a place like Zazzle or something that produces and ships for you! thank you so much for thinking of my stuff on notecards. One of my dreams is to walk into a store and see one of my birds on a coffee mug--that would be so cool!! :-)

Kathiesbirds said...

LOve, love the chickadee and this gray and stormy weather is making me feel like painting also! Perhaps I should shut of the computer and go pull out my paints...it has been a VERY long time since I have painted.

Mary said...

I really love the Cardinal painting! Fantastic! The chickadee is cute, too :-)

Susan W. said...

The cardinal is absolutely perfect! I'm salivating with desire for it, actually. Your talent is mind-blowing, Kelly - always!