Thursday, November 1, 2012

Painting and drawing Savannah Sparrows...and our first Dark-eyed Junco of winter!

I painted these Savannah Sparrows last week for a guest post I did on the Birding is Fun blog. As a reference, I used sketches of the bird I drew from an outing in early spring. Since our summer sparrows are leaving us for their winter grounds, I thought it a great way to say good bye to them. Sparrows are always fun to watch. They are sweet, and their subtle shades of browns, grays, and caramels are restful to the eye and make them interesting to paint...

A Savannah Sparrow in a spring meadow at Armleder Park in Hamilton County Ohio (original watercolor by Kelly Riccetti)
...a sweet Savannah Sparrow in an early spring meadow (watercolor).

Sparrows go about their business without flash. They flit through the grasses and make us work to see and identify them. This little Savannah Sparrow, however, was making it easy. He was singing heartily, perched on a tall and dried-out reedy stem of grass left over from winter. I saw this bird on March 24, 2012 at Armleder Park in Cincinnati, OH. The bird was one of a pair that took turns diving down to the ground, then fluttering back up to a perch. In the same field, two Vesper Sparrows were doing the same thing, although they were much more secretive and tended to stay a little lower in the weeds (click here for that post). Both species were returning migrants, and it was wonderful to welcome them back for the season...

The same Savannah Sparrow in the meadow at Armleder Park in Hamilton county, Ohio (original watercolor by Kelly Riccetti)
...same Savannah Sparrow trying his best to fade away in a field of dead stalks and grasses (watercolor).

A Savannah Sparrow in a spring meadow at Armleder Park in Hamilton County Ohio (original pencil sketch by Kelly Riccetti)
Pencil sketch of the Savannah Sparrow at Armleder Park (March 24, 2012)

A Savannah Sparrow in a spring meadow at Armleder Park in Hamilton County Ohio (pencil sketch by Kelly Riccetti)
Pencil sketch of the same Savannah Sparrow at Armleder. 


...and already it's time to say goodbye to these sweet summer sparrows, as winter sparrows have already arrived in Cincinnati. I've read reports of White-crowned Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows, but so far, none have shown up in our yard. It seems Pine Siskins are making appearances in Cincy too! I hope a few drop by our feeders. We do have a new visitor, howeverour first Dark-eyed Junco of winter flashed his white tail feathers this past Saturday on October 27, 2012. Last year our first junco blew in on November 8, 2012 (click here for that post and watercolors of the junco), so we're ahead of the game!


Journal entry and pencil sketch of the first Dark-eyed Junco of the winter season (by Kelly Riccetti)
Sketchbook entry of our first Dark-eyed Junco of the season (10-27-2012)

Armleder Park is on the east side of Cincinnati in Hamilton County and is a great place to bird. It's about 30 minutes from my house, so I don't get there as often as I'd like. A small paved trail loops through a weedy meadow, and you have canoe access to the Little Miami River as well (305 acres).

22 comments:

Guy said...

Hi Kelly

Beautiful sketches and paintings. our Juncos were here several weeks ago but then sadly it is winter here so that makes sense.

All the best.
Guy

Marie said...

Love your work, as always, Kelly.

TexWisGirl said...

your sketches always blow me away! what you do with a simple pencil is pure talent!

Julie G. said...

As always, I am so very impressed with your magnificent art work! Here in Chicago, we have had the juncos around for a few weeks now. Such pretty birds. I love the calls they make. Terrific post!

ShySongbird said...

Lovely drawings and paintings Kelly, the little sparrow is very endearing.

I loved the Little Blue Heron post too, magnificent work! The little ones are so sweet and the adult has such beautiful plumage.

Warren Baker said...

Hi Kelly,
Isn't it great when the Migrant birds arrive :-)

Nice artwork by the way!

Banjo52 said...

I didn't know there were winter and supper sparrows or that this was a natural time for juncos to appear (I saw my first about 7-10 days ago here in southern Michigan). Once again, it's info time at the trusty University of Kitty. Thanks!

I got a pic of a sparrow-ish bird in the Berkshires of western Mass. a couple weeks ago. It might just have been a Savannah--very speckled on white breast. You're fine watercolors are reminding me I need to investigate.

Montanagirl said...

Lovely paintings and sketches, Kelly! We've had a few Dark-eyed Juncos as well.

Martha said...

We got a bit of snow in this part of Cincinnati...hope you saw some, too. ♥ I have been having a good time watching the chick-a-dees eat the seeds from the dead blossoms on our Jerusalem artichoke.

Weedpicker Cheryl said...

Love your work Kelly. Is a book in the offering? Cheryl

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Sparrows are such sweet little birds--I love them. These are beautiful sketches and paintings, too.

Janice K said...

So very pretty. I love your artwork and photography.

Tammie Lee said...

you are so good at sketching and painting birds! i could almost hear your sparrows singing as i read your words!

Elva Paulson said...

I love your Savannah sparrows!!! just wonderful.

Dan Huber said...

Very nice paintings and sketching Kelly, the sparrows intimidate me with their complex patterns, but you sketch them so well.

Elaine said...

Lovely sketches! I miss the sweet little Juncos, but glad to see they're arriving at your place.

cindyzlogic said...

Wonderful, Kelly! Great work on your sketches and watercolor Sparrows! I was happy to see you have Juncos already and your sketch is great!

Kerri said...

What a gift you have!
Thank you for sharing it with us :)

Kelly said...

...thank you, everyone. You are always so kind. These birds are so sweet and understated...it seemed the only way to paint them with with light washes to mimic the drained color of early spring. These are two of my all-time favorite paintings. I love the simplicity of the design.

Roy said...

The water colours of the Sparrows are just great Kelly. You have been able to produce something really good and representative from very little.

Chris said...

Ok, I know you know, but again you stunned me... Large eyes dropping down on the floor... THese sketches are superb Kelly!!!

Kathy Shea Mormino said...

I would love it if you would join me in linking up at my weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/12/clever-chicks-blog-hop-10-rural.html

I hope you can make it!
Cheers,
Kathy Shea Mormino
The Chicken Chick