Tag Archives: seasonal cards

Holiday Cards: Winter Beauty, My Favorite Season for Painting

painting on card

Solstice, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Winter is my favorite season for painting. These paintings were inspired by winter in pastel, watercolor and pen and ink from the trails to my backyard, completed en plein air and indoors—often standing on my deck or sitting in the front seat of the car—illuminated by the stark light of winter. Many of them were just small sketches while others were large, detailed studio paintings in an attempt to capture the essence of a winter scene.

Inside, all cards say, “Wishing you warm thoughts and happy memories in this holiday season, and an astonishingly beautiful new year to come.” With a minimum order of four dozen they can also be customized with your message or logo (please convo on Etsy).

These 5″ x 7″ cards are printed on 14 pt. gloss card stock and include a matching envelope, 1 each of the eight designs shown, packed in a clear-top white cardboard greeting card box.


dusk in the woods

Dusk in the Woods, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Dusk in the Woods
Pastel • 2006
The last moment of true daylight when the eye can still perceive color; “that blue time”, lasting only moments, but full of the magic of the reality of day and the spirits of night.
A spot near Robinson Run in Collier Township, PA


winter pastel painting

After the Snow Squall, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

After the Snow Squall
Pastel • 2003
A fresh snowfall, just as the clouds part and the sun appears.


pastel painting of winter

Morning Snow 1, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Morning Snow I
Pastel • 1998
We only get heavy snows every few winters here in Western Pennsylvania, so being able to revel in the sparkling beauty of a winter morning after a heavy snowfall provided much inspiration. This scene and Morning Snow II are actually in my suburban backyard. I was fascinated at the multitude of colors in the early morning sunlight as it reflected on the snow, and in the colors in the shadows.


pastel painting of winter

Morning Snow 2, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Morning Snow II
Pastel • 1998
We only get heavy snows every few winters here in Western Pennsylvania, so being able to revel in the sparkling beauty of a winter morning after a heavy snowfall provided much inspiration. This scene and Morning SnowII are actually in my suburban backyard. I was fascinated at the multitude of colors in the early morning sunlight as it reflected on the snow, and in the colors in the shadows.

ink and watercolor painting of winter

Sticks and Slopes, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Sticks and Slopes
Ink and Watercolor • 2006
One of our many hillsides reduced to lines and shadows by the afternoon sun.

pastel painting of winter

Tracks in the Snow, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Tracks in the Snow
Pastel • 2004
Someone sheltered under my spruce in the storm.

pastel painting of winter

Solstice, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Pastel • 2003
The moment when the sun stands still, as it seemed to at this frigid, snow-covered winter dusk,
spruces standing dignified sentinel to the moment of transition. (This is another of those beautiful places that isn’t there anymore.)

pastel painting of winter

Winter, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Pastel • 1996
A cold and snowy winter sunset on a friend’s farm.


Holiday Cards: Nature’s Peaceful Beauty

crabapples on a branch

Little Apples, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

Walking in the quiet of a winter day I see some of the most beautiful scenes, from my own back yard, to my neighborhood, town, trails and woods. My joy is to bring not just the scene but the entire milieu back to my studio in an image—a tall order for a photograph or painting, but now and then I manage to capture the essence.

These two sets of four designs based on photography are more “seasonal” than “holiday”, and evoke the two concepts I pursue with my nature photography.

Unexpected Berries

“Unexpected Berries” is a careful study of surprising details others may not notice, the splash of color in the muted landscape of winter that holds my gaze for as long as my tired eyes will enjoy its gift as “nature provides a respite for the weary eye.

Above is “Little Apples”, small wild apples hang like brightly-colored ornaments on wild trees whipped bare from winter winds, decorating the gray branches on an overcast day.

Below is “Icy Berries” decorating one of the trees on Main Street in Carnegie, iced over by a winter storm, their brilliant, rich color preserved.

small red crabapples on icy branches

"Icy Berries", photo © B.E. Kazmarski

And one of my long-time favorites, “Crabapples” decorate bare branches in a cluster of trees growing by railroad tracks; who would think to look here for such beauty?

crabapples on branches

Crabapples, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

From my own backyard is “Unexpected Berries”, found on Christmas morning after a heavy snow, the bright red hulls clinging to my burning bush while the seeds withing long gone to my avian visitors.

red berries in snow

Unexpected Berries, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

Outside they advise “nature provides a respite for the weary eye”. Inside the cards reads, “Wishing you color on the coldest day of winter, and an astonishingly beautiful new year.” All cards are 5″ x 7″ and come with a matching envelope, three each of the four designs in a clear-top stationery box. You can find this set in my Etsy shop.

Winter Walks

card design with snowy scene

Homeward Bound, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

Of all the inspiring scenes I’ve found on my “Winter Walks”, these are the ones that stayed with me afterward as I remembered one of my favorite quotes from Henry David Thoreau: “Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. ~Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author”.

Above is “Homeward Bound”, found after a major ice storm in Settler’s Cabin Park in Collier Township, PA.

Below is “Arching Branches”, a scene along Chartiers Creek near Bridgeville, PA.

branches arching over creek

Arching Branches, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

Walking through the local woods after a snow I found a wonderful “Snowy Abstract”.

branches with snow

Snowy Abstract, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

And visiting the Panhandle Trail near Oakdale, PA I found these delicate branches “Encased in Ice”.

icy branches

Encased in Ice, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

And on the inside, “May your spirits be lifted by the beauty of nature this holiday season and in the new year.” You can find this set in my Etsy shop.

See also:
Holiday Cards: Greetings From Our Backyard Birds
Feline-themed Holiday Cards

Holiday Cards: Greetings From Our Backyard Birds

pastel painting of blue jays in tree

Jammin Jay Blues, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

“That would make a great card!”

That’s usually how I decide which of my paintings or photos will end up as a greeting card or note card, following the advice of someone’s suggestion.

When it comes to my birds, many of the paintings and photos are from winter, when the birds are simply easier to see, but also one of my favorite seasons for painting and photography. So this year, I decided to make up two sets of cards for the holidays—and possibly beyond—from the paintings and photos that received the most comments.

Backyard Birds

I truly love winter paintings because the light is wonderful without the shadows from trees, the reflections from the snow illuminating shadowed areas with soft purples and blues, and the patterns made by bare branches are mesmerizing. This set of four paintings of birds are ones I’d done “from life”, actually standing at a window inside or at my back door rather than en plein air, but I wanted to catch that moment of light and color.

Above is “Jammin’ Jay Blues”, my impression of a bunch of noisy blue jays making a racket in the bare branches of the mulberry. In the winter light, their blue feathers have an extra glow that I don’t notice in summer, and between the color and the sound they occasionally fill my backyard with what feels like a celebratory parade, when all they are celebrating is the sliced apples I’ve stuck on twigs in the tree.

Below is “Snowbird”, the common name for a dark-eyed junco, as it clings to along branch of the forsythia in heavy snowfall, apparently living up to its name. They appear in my backyard each year in October and stay until April, and I love their simple little silhouettes, tiny rounded bodies, short beaks and tails, and that white spot on their bellies that looks as if they’d been dipped in white paint before they left the factory.

pastel painting of junco

Snowbird, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

This is “Birds in Snow”, inspired by the sparrows and doves that feed on the ground under the feeder outside my front door. To one side of the feeder is a huge spruce, providing cover and safety for many, many birds, and watching them twittering on the branches, then dropping down for seeds one by one and pecking around in the snow in a big crowd, then suddenly all of them flapping back up into the spruce as if signaled by something only to begin the process again is like watching waves on the beach.

pastel painting of birds in snow

Birds in Snow, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

And here is “Accent”, a single cardinal in the branches and brambles touched with snow at the end of the yard. This is the “safe spot” for birds and small animals as I’ve let the wild grapevines, rapberries and blackberries and Roses of Sharon grow into a dense tangled mass which is excellent protection from predators. A heavy snowfall with layer each branch with white and the play of light and shadow in the mass of branches creates one of nature’s lovely patterns. Where most of my drawing surfaces have some texture, for this one I added marble dust and grit and gave the surface a rough brushed appearance which turned out to be perfect for capturing the feeling of branches and snow.

pastel painting of cardinal in branches

Accent, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Inside, all cards say, “Wishing you warm thoughts and happy memories in this holiday season, and an astonishingly beautiful new year to come.” While I’m offering these for the holidays, they are wonderful all-purpose greeting cards as well and I’ll keep them available through spring in my Etsy shop.

Cardinals Brighten Up a Snowy Day

Of all the birds that visit my backyard, the male American Cardinal is the showiest, and my photos of these have had the most comments—especially, “That would make a great Christmas card!” One of these days I’ll get a few of the girls in the snow—though they aren’t as showy they are still colorful and very dignified, but don’t position themselves in the same way as the guys. So, here we are, a set of cards designed with a little red and green flair that makes it look like a Christmas card as well. Inside they all say, “May your holiday season be merry and bright!”

I think this guy was posing because he sat there for the longest time in the same position. Okay, I get it, I’ll take your picture!

photo of cardinal in forsythia

Cardinal in Forsythia, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

I had wanted a photo that had a significant amount of green along with the red of the cardinal and the snow, and this cardinal obliged.

photo of cardinal in snow

Cardinal in Yew, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

Just the cardinal’s red color against an overcast sky and very little else.

photo of cardinal on branch

Cardinal on a Branch, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

Five male cardinals were flitting all over the yard during the snowfall. I only managed to catch three in one shot, but it was a favorite.

photo of cardinals in snow bush

Three Cardinals, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

Since I added the red and green decorations, these are pretty much limited to the holiday season.

You can find all of these in my Etsy shop.

See also:
Holiday Cards: Nature’s Peaceful Beauty
Feline-themed Holiday Cards

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