Tag Archives: wild birds

Greetings From Our Backyard Birds

"Jammin' Jay Blues", pastel, 6" x 8" © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Jammin’ Jay Blues”, pastel, 6″ x 8″ © Bernadette 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. Last 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. Knowing that many of my readers are also avian fans and feeders, I’m sharing them here today.

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 literally en plein air, but I wanted to catch that moment of light and color.

I also offer these images as art prints. Please ask!

Find these cards in my Etsy shop.

. . . . . . .

Jammin’ Jay Blues

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.

. . . . . . .

Snow Bird

Below is “Snow Bird”, a play on 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.

"Snow Bird", pastel, 6" x 8"

“Snow Bird”, pastel, 6″ x 8″

. . . . . . .

Birds in Snow

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.

Birds in Snow

Birds in Snow

. . . . . . .

Accent

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, raspberries and blackberries and Roses of Sharon grow into a dense tangled mass which is excellent protection from predators and I place a seed feeder and suet feeder into the mess each autumn. A heavy snowfall which layers each branch with white and the play of light and shadow in the mass of branches creates one of nature’s most 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.

"Accent", pastel, 5" x 10"

“Accent”, pastel, 5″ x 10″

. . . . . . .
About the cards

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

Click here to find them in my Etsy shop.


Marketplace

marker sketch of black cat watching birds at feeder

“Mimi Morning Birdwatching”, brush markers, 8″ x 6.5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Mimi watches the birds, I sketch the birds, and I sketch Mimi!

Take a look at other new merchandise and featured artwork.

Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in my “shop”, whether that’s here on The Creative Cat, in my Etsy shop, on my main website or even at one of the bricks and mortar shops that carry my work.

Read about creating custom items

Find out more about creating custom items for your own home using the images you see here. Visit the “Ordering Custom Art” page to see samples and read bout how to order.

Find out about events and festivals where you can find me and my work.

Sign up for my e-newsletter (below), check the widget on the sidebar on my home page, or sign up to receive posts on Portraits of Animals Marketplace. I plan on plenty of events this coming summer in the Pittsburgh area.

Donations

I designate four portrait certificates each year for donation to benefit animals, and also donate merchandise, prints of artwork and even originals to rescue and shelter benefits. If you are interested in a donation for your event, please email me with the details of your event and your organization.

It’s all done under the close and careful supervision of my studio cats!

Subscribe to the Portraits of Animals Preview E-newsletter

Or click here to open a sign up form in a new window (which seems to work better).


All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


© 2015 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
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Greetings From Our Backyard Birds

"Jammin' Jay Blues", pastel, 6" x 8" © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Jammin’ Jay Blues”, pastel, 6″ x 8″ © Bernadette 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. Last 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. Knowing that many of my readers are also avian fans and feeders, I’m sharing them here today.

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 literally en plein air, but I wanted to catch that moment of light and color.

As you browse below, the title of each painting and the image of each painting will take you to a post for prints of the painting itself. Click here or where it mentions “cards” to visit the listing for the set of cards.

. . . . . . .

Jammin’ Jay Blues

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.

. . . . . . .

Snow Bird

Below is “Snow Bird”, a play on 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.

"Snow Bird", pastel, 6" x 8"

“Snow Bird”, pastel, 6″ x 8″

. . . . . . .

Birds in Snow

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.

Birds in Snow

Birds in Snow

. . . . . . .

Accent

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, raspberries and blackberries and Roses of Sharon grow into a dense tangled mass which is excellent protection from predators and I place a seed feeder and suet feeder into the mess each autumn. A heavy snowfall which layers each branch with white and the play of light and shadow in the mass of branches creates one of nature’s most 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.

"Accent", pastel, 5" x 10"

“Accent”, pastel, 5″ x 10″

. . . . . . .
About the cards

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

Click here to find them in my Etsy shop.


Marketplace

marker sketch of black cat watching birds at feeder

“Mimi Morning Birdwatching”, brush markers, 8″ x 6.5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Mimi watches the birds, I sketch the birds, and I sketch Mimi!

Take a look at other new merchandise and featured artwork.

Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in my “shop”, whether that’s here on The Creative Cat, in my Etsy shop, on my main website or even at one of the bricks and mortar shops that carry my work.

Read about creating custom items

Find out more about creating custom items for your own home using the images you see here. Visit the “Ordering Custom Art” page to see samples and read bout how to order.

Find out about events and festivals where you can find me and my work.

Sign up for my e-newsletter (below), check the widget on the sidebar on my home page, or sign up to receive posts on Portraits of Animals Marketplace. I plan on plenty of events this coming summer in the Pittsburgh area.

Donations

I designate four portrait certificates each year for donation to benefit animals, and also donate merchandise, prints of artwork and even originals to rescue and shelter benefits. If you are interested in a donation for your event, please email me with the details of your event and your organization.

It’s all done under the close and careful supervision of my studio cats!

Subscribe to the Portraits of Animals Preview E-newsletter

Or click here to open a sign up form in a new window (which seems to work better).


All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


© 2015 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

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On the Wild Side

pastel painting of wolves

“Wolf Howl”, pastel, 23″ x 17″, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Something about bright autumn days and the colorful woods makes me think more of wildlife than other times of the year. I see more animals at this time of the year as all are migrating or scurrying around getting ready for winter, though it’s generally the winter season where I create paintings of them.

portraits of animals logo

My official logo for Portraits of Animals.

Even though I began my art career sketching and painting my cats, once the door to my creative abilities had been opened I soon found other animals to be my subjects as well, including other animals considered pets and, of course, wildlife. That’s why my business name which encompasses all my art is “Portraits of Animals”, and you can see by my logo that it includes “pets and wildlife”. Fur, feathers, fins, animals are fascinating and beautiful and not self-conscious in the way that humans are, in fact it’s probably their differences from the humans I see each day that make them such an exciting challenge.

Backyard Birds in Winter

Snow Bird

I have traveled too little to see any real wildlife aside from the critters who inhabit my back yard, so I began my wildlife excursions from pictorial resources such as magazines and calendars and eventually moved to photos I took at our local zoo as well. Nonetheless, after being accustomed to seeing domesticated animals in the relative comfort of my home and neighborhood, it is almost a shock to see an animal which has never known a human and cares nothing for human companionship. Studying a wild animal in its natural habitat is a reminder that the world does not revolve around us, that these creatures get along just fine (and probably better) without us, that we are really only one more species carrying out our lives on Earth. And while, for me, the inspiration to put an image on paper is always primarily a visual inspiration, wild animals carry the same emotional inspiration for me as domestic pets. Add to that the beauty of a natural landscape and you’ve got a perfect recipe for visual pleasure.

I regularly write about my “Registered Backyard Wildlife Habitat”, and even though small and in a regular old neighborhood near Main Street, it is host to plenty of native species of all sorts, especially songbirds hence my quantity of bird art, but I have a series of photos I’ve taken at the Pittsburgh Zoo and intend to go there in good weather to sketch and paint. Here is a little review, and you can click on any title or image to find the art in my Etsy shop, or simply visit my Wildlife gallery there.

. . . . . . .

Wolf Howl

pastel painting of wolves

“Wolf Howl”, pastel, 23″ x 17″, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

This pastel painting of wolves howling in a snowy dusk is 22″ wide x 16″ high, and I used Rembrandt pastels on Canson pastel paper, leaving the rough edges.

It’s easy to personify what animals do, but when I saw this picture I pondered what made these wolves stop at that point and howl while the rest of the group moved on, and what they had to say.

The range of dusky earth tones and the textures inspired me to render it in a looser and more sketchy manner than usual, much as our eyes perceive things at dusk, letting the texture of the paper add to the image, and allowing rough edges to show some of the actual natural paper tone.

. . . . . . .

Bison Shadow

detail of painting of bison grazing in sunset prairie

“Bison Shadow”, pastel on 26.5″ x 17.5″ on Hahnemuhle sanded watercolor paper.

I saw a photo in a magazine of bison grazing on the plains and remembered historical and fictional novels I’d read from the “Little House on the Prairie” series to the settlement of the Great Plains.

I put together what I saw in photos and what I’d visualized while reading of a countryside I’ve never seen.

This looks like a lot of bison, but considering how many populated this country just 200 years ago, this herd is just a shadow of what it once was, and in this orange twilight even their shapes are reduced to shadows.

The original pastel painting, 26.5″ x 17.5″, was done in Rembrandt pastels on Hahnemühle sanded watercolor paper. You can see a lot of ambient textures in the paper in this painting, and even, just above in the lower right corner, you can see the actual color of the paper. This is a sturdy German-made 300# watercolor paper with deckle edges which has the sanded finish used for pastel and charcoal layered onto it, tinted various colors. This was my preferred paper for pastels in the 90s and early 2000s in part because of the colors in which it was available. I rarely begin a painting with white paper, when when I saw the photos of the bison and envisioned this painting it begged to be painted on this shade of this paper, knowing I’d be able to use that ambient texture to enhance the feel of the prairie grass.

I have the original painting alone or matted and framed, and I also have giclee and digital prints available in my Etsy shop and I even have one last 12 oz. mug available too.

. . . . . . .

pastel painting of cardinal in snow

“Accent”, 6″ x 12″, pastel on self-prepared board © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Accent

Cardinals brighten my back yard all year round, and are especially brilliant on a snowy day. My back yard is a registered Backyard Wildlife Habitat and I have let brush and brambles fill in at the corners; this cardinal is in a tangle of wild grapevines with a fresh fall of snow. This was done en plein air–but not outside so I wouldn’t cause the birds to fly off, but from my back door.

This is one of a series of four backyard bird sketches that I also offer as a set of holiday greeting cards, just the paintings on the outside, entitled “Backyard Birds”.


Other Wildlife Art

Below is a slideshow gallery of more of my wildlife artwork in my Etsy shop. You can also find these and more on my original website under Wildlife and in my Marketplace purchase greeting cards with most of the images.


Marketplace

Kennedy sits behind my chair in the studio to make sure I stay focused on my work.

Take a look at other new merchandise and featured artwork.

Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in my “shop”, whether that’s here on The Creative Cat, in my Etsy shop, on my main website or even at one of the bricks and mortar shops that carry my work.

Read about creating custom items

Find out more about creating custom items for your own home using the images you see here. Visit the “Ordering Custom Art” page to see samples and read bout how to order.

Find out about events and festivals where you can find me and my work.

Sign up for my e-newsletter (below), check the widget on the sidebar on my home page, or sign up to receive posts on Portraits of Animals Marketplace. I plan on plenty of events this coming summer in the Pittsburgh area.

Donations

I designate four portrait certificates each year for donation to benefit animals, and also donate merchandise, prints of artwork and even originals to rescue and shelter benefits. If you are interested in a donation for your event, please email me with the details of your event and your organization.

It’s all done under the close and careful supervision of my studio cats!

Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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Taking Flight, a Summer Afternoon in the Marsh

pastel painting of whooping cranes

Taking Flight © original pastel painting, B.E. Kazmarski

Above is “Taking Flight”, an original pastel painting of two whooping cranes taking off in a marsh on a summer afternoon. Visiting what had once been their habitat on Assateague Island, Virginia, I imagined what they might have looked like in the whispering marshes as I watched the other cranes and egrets as I enjoyed the quiet rustling breezes of the marsh.

Studying a wild animal in its natural habitat is a reminder that the world does not revolve around us, that these creatures have their own lives and are not primarily subjects for our entertainment or sport. And while, for me, the inspiration to put an image on paper is always primarily a visual inspiration, wild animals carry the same emotional inspiration as domestic pets—animals are so un-selfconscious and don’t care what the artist does with them. Add to that the beauty of a natural landscape and you’ve got a perfect recipe for visual pleasure.

detail of whooping cranes painting

Detail of cranes.

I have traveled too little to see any real wildlife aside from the critters who inhabit my suburban garden, but the Pittsburgh Zoo and National Aviary in Pittsburgh are quite impressive places of natural habitat, and we also have conservation sites to visit in the western part of Pennsylvania where endangered species are kept in hopes they’ll breed enough to carry on their species, so I do get to see these species in life aside from the many magazines and visit websites I learn from.

Many years ago I saw two captive whooping cranes, likely at the Pittsburgh Zoo. I marveled at their size—they were nearly as tall as me! But it was when one of them spread its wings that I was truly enchanted by the pure white body, neat brown wing tips and tiny touches of yellow highlight here and there, and the grace of that huge bird.

And I read about them and discovered their plight, having no idea they were so imperiled, I remembered again that visit to Assateague Island.

detail of painting

Detail of marsh grasses and sky.

What would their afternoon have been like? Using my photos of those marshes and many images of whooping cranes plus another visit to the Zoo, I painted this in pastel, trying to capture the details that had stayed with me at seeing them, and also the feeling of movement in the marshes I had visited, the waving sedges, lapping water and constant breeze from the ocean.

And those summer colors, blue sky reflected on the water, reflected on the cranes.

detail of painting

Detail of water.

The painting is 23″ wide x 15″ high, matted with a 4″ warm cream acid-free mat with 1/4″ burnished gold wood fillet edging and 1-1/4″ burnished gold frame. The backing is acid-free foam core and the glass is premium clear glass.

You can find the original painting, “Taking Flight”,  along with a number of other wildlife paintings.

Prints are available, both a full-size high-quality giclee: www.etsy.com/listing/104435028/taking-flight-whooping-cranes-giclee, and an 18″ x 12″ digital print.: www.etsy.com/listing/104435800/taking-flight-whooping-cranes-digital.

I’m happy to be donating a print of this painting to Operation Migration, the non-profit that teaches Whooping Crane chicks the migration route from Wisconsin to Florida, for their benefit in September. Read about the difficult but rewarding effort this organization puts forth to help reintroduce this endangered species to their original lifestyle and pattern of migration.


The Mourning Doves Are Biding Their Time

pencil drawing of doves in bare tree

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

The birds are returning, and this sunny morning when I filled the feeders I heard quite the chorus of mourning doves. They’ve always inhabited my trees, and now while they are still bare I can see birds clustered in each of them—especially as they watch me with the seed headed for each feeder.

The mourning doves tend to settle in one place for a while, commune with each other, sing for a while, then sit quietly as they consider moving off to do something else.

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 and is very, very old. 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.

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.

detail of biding time

Detail of dove with branches.

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.

detail of biding time

Detail of the other dove.

I sold the original to a loving home, but have a quality giclee matted and framed.

detail of frame and mats

Frame and mat on giclee print.

The signed giclee print is 18″ wide x 12″ high, matted with a 4″ tan acid-free marble mat 1″ matte black wood frame, framed size 18″ x 24″. The backing is acid-free foam core and the glass is premium clear glass.

You can find this print in my Etsy shop.


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


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.


Busy Chickadees, Linoleum Block Print

linocut of chickadees on a branch

Busy Chickadees, linocut © B.E. Kazmarski

Those little chickadees—I don’t know how they get anything accomplished when they are always hopping about and chick-a-dee-dee-ing. I have feeders outside each window and in the winter the cheerful chirps and constant activity among the bare and graceful branches are welcome.

This is a long and narrow linoleum block print in black on white rice paper with a tint of gray on the birds. It’s matted with a tan black-core top mat and a turquoise black-core bottom mat, framed with a black wood frame with a rustic edge. The art size is 12″W x 4″H, the frame size is 16″W x 8″H.

detail of print

Detail of print.

I have fun with this print. I kept the design fairly plain and spare so that I can sometimes add other colors to the background but more often mat and frame it in other color combinations and other frame styles and colors.

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

You can find this set of prints in my Etsy shop, or if you are local to me I actually have these on display in my shop in Carnegie, in the back room at Carnegie Antiques, 423 West Main Street.


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