The Mourning Doves Are Biding Their Time

pencil sketch of doves on a branch

Biding Time, pencil and watercolor © B. E. Kazmarski

Something about the light today, this bright overcast with snow still on the ground, the birds sitting very still in the bare trees, reminds me of this pencil drawing which hangs near my desk here in my office.

What do doves do all day? Just kind of hang out waiting for something to happen? The doves always seem to have some purpose beyond just sitting there, but sit they will for hours, moving only slightly, perhaps waiting for friends to join them.

These doves are waiting in the maple tree outside my bedroom window, a scene I often see and always enjoy.

The branches of the ancient maple tree vary in texture and even color, the larger branches and trunk carrying old gnarled scars from years of storms; this tree has been my guardian since I moved into this house. The details of the branches and twigs were so inspiring to me and I visualized a large, detailed pencil drawing, even imagining my pencil drawing the darker edges, blending the smooth areas and sketching detail in the rough areas to create the shadows.

Still, it was the doves who led me to the beauty of the scene and it was only a matter of time and lots of reference photos before I decided exactly which one I wanted to draw.

dove with branches

Detail of dove with branches.

The scene I finally chose to draw was a bright overcast day when a snowfall had melted from the branches, leaving them a little wet and more colorful than usual with the little bits of moss that collect on the undersides, and the shadows are muted and soft.

I chose to create this drawing in pencil for the simple clarity of line and the delicacy of shadow. Pencil was my first medium and one I return to regularly with a comforting familiarity, losing myself in the variety of lines and textures a simple graphite pencil can achieve, and so it was with this drawing.

I added very slight watercolor washes to show the bird’s breast tarnish and the contrast of blue on the upper feathers, and the slight gather of moss on the tree branch. Loving the pencil, I still wanted to give the birds and branches dimension against the flat white background. Well I remember my hesitance with the first washes of color, holding the brush, filled with paint, away from the sketch, afraid to begin for fear either my idea of adding color wouldn’t be successful or I would simply screw up this pencil drawing I’d spent three weeks drawing. Eventually, I got over it, and it worked out just as I had visualized.

The drawing is 22″ wide x 16″ high, matted with a 4″ tan acid-free mat with 1/8″ charcoal acid-free mat, framed with a 1″ burnished gold metal frame with silver inner edge and nailhead detail. The backing is acid-free foam core and the glass is premium clear glass.

This is also available as two sizes of prints, one at 18″ x 24″ and one at 11″ x 14″. The 11″ x 14″ print is shown here.

All are available in my Etsy shop using the links below.

corner of painting

Frame and mats on original sketch.

Original sketch of “Biding Time

The drawing is 22″ wide x 16″ high, matted with a 4″ tan acid-free mat with 1/8″ charcoal acid-free mat, framed with a 1″ burnished gold metal frame with silver inner edge and nailhead detail. The backing is acid-free foam core and the glass is premium clear glass.

detail of frame and mats

Frame and mat on giclee print.

Large Framed Giclee of “Biding Time

The signed giclee print is 18″ wide x 12″ high, matted with a 4″ tan acid-free marble mat 1″ matte black wood frame. The backing is acid-free foam core and the glass is premium clear glass.

framed print of biding time

11" x 14" framed print of "Biding Time".

Small Framed Digital Print of “Biding Time”

This digital print is 10″ wide x 8″ high, matted with a 1-3/4″ white linen mat lined with a 1/4″ black linen mat and 1-1/2″ matte black wood frame. The backing is acid-free foam core and the glass is premium clear glass.

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