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Female Rufous Hummingbird

A “Female Rufous Hummingbird” is the next painting in the Birds in Pastel series. She is depicted in flight as she is about to visit a rose and was painted on 9″x12″ white pastel mat paper.

As I shared in my previous post, Rufous are my favorite of the Hummingbirds that visit our area. The varieties of hummingbirds that arrive in the spring are Calliope, the Ruby Throated Hummingbird and the Black-chinned Hummingbird. Last year we seemed to have an abundance of each variety and I was kept busy keeping the feeders filled! But I love these beautiful birds so much, feeding them is a joy.

The “Female Rufous Hummingbird” pastel painting was a bit on the difficult side for me. I decided not to use an underpainting to see exactly why one is not supposed to paint on white pastel paper. Well I understand fully now! There isn’t any vibrance to the painting. I struggled with trying to paint the background because it was so dull and added way more product than was necessary. Then I had a hard time trying to depict the motion of the bird’s wings and scraped off pastel and reworked the piece many times. I finally just gave up and said it is what it is! This painting will go in the never to be seen again file.

Rufous Hummingbird
“Female Rufous Hummingbird”

I think you can agree that the piece is not vibrant. So, lesson learned, don’t paint on white pastel paper without an underpainting! All is not lost because I learned valuable information and had more practice painting birds in pastel. Nothing gained is ever lost and more time at the easel is what I’m working for, so all is good! By the way, the QR code is not on the original painting. I’d be a genius if I could paint that! 🙂 If anyone likes this painting and wants it, let me know in the comments below and I will send it to you! Seriously!

Well that’s all I have to share for now. I’m kicking around the idea of painting some more hummingbird pastels now that I’ve done a couple and have a feel for them on paper. More to come! Thanks for stopping in. Much love ~ Rhonda

  • Red Cardinal
  • Back Capped Chickadee Pastel
  • Black Capped Chickadee in the Snow
  • Blue Jay in the Forest Pastel
  • Hummingbird and Lilacs
  • Rufous Hummingbird
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Hummingbird and Lilacs

Continuing with my Birds in Pastel Series, I am sharing the latest pastel painting entitled “Hummingbird and Lilacs”. I love Hummingbirds! I put out at least four hummingbird feeders every spring and have 100’s of birds, so it seems, at the feeders in early spring. We typically have four varieties of Hummingbirds, my favorite among them is the Rufous Hummingbird.

The Rufous hummingbirds are super fierce and territorial! They will sit nearby and wait until another bird comes to the feeder for a drink, then dive bomb that bird to chase it away. It’s so much fun to watch!

I made a swing for the hummingbirds and it warmed by spirit to see them using it!

Hummingbirds and Swing

Here is my next installation in the Birds in Pastel series of a Rufous Hummingbird and purple lilac flowers:

Hummingbird and Lilacs
“Hummingbird and Lilacs”

“Hummingbird and Lilacs” was painted on white Pastel Mat paper with soft pastels. I used a watercolor under painting before adding pastels to bring a certain vibrance to the painting which I think was very successful.

This piece is the second painting I’ve done of this subject. The first painting was painted in oils on a 4″x4″ box canvas. I gave the painting to my mother for her birthday a few years ago. She passed last September and I was supposed to get the painting back, but in the cleaning out of her home so it could be sold, my painting was lost to either someone in the family who took it and won’t fess up, or it was given to charity. I was very upset at loosing that painting because it was one of my favorites. I guess I should be flattered that someone liked it so much they had to take it, but it’s a shame I don’t know what happened to it, especially if it ended up in the trash heap marked for charity !~ Here’s what it looked like:

Hummingbird

I used the image of the original oil painting as my reference for the new pastel painting and now I have my Hummingbird and Lilacs painting back, only better! It will be framed by my framer who I’ve given carte blanche to frame it as she wants because she has very good taste. I can’t wait to see it on my wall.

Stay tuned for more Birds in Pastel! I have another hummingbird painting to share next. Thanks for taking time to stop by! Much Love ~ Rhonda

{The Tamarack Mountain Studio watermark and QR code are not on the original paintings.}

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Blue Jay in the Forest

Today I’m sharing another of my Birds in Pastel Series and this one is entitled “Blue Jay in the Forest”. I love the color blue, so for me, a Blue Jay is a special bird! I have only seem them in our area a few times though, which is strange, since I live in the forest. Last year we had two Blue Jays hanging around the bird feeder for a day and I was so happy, because I thought perhaps we’d have new residents, but the next day they were gone, and I’ve not seen them since.

Blue Jays are such smart birds, and one time on a biking adventure in the Sierras, my husband and I stopped for lunch and a Blue Jay swooped in and landed on our picnic table. He was not afraid of us and it was almost as if he was saying “Can I have a bite?” I know you’re not supposed to feed the wildlife but I can’t help myself, so I tossed him a potato chip. He loved it! Then I said to my husband, “I should not feed him potato chips for heavens sake, I’ll give him my bread instead.” So I tore off a small piece of bread and tossed him that and of course he woofed it down. He stayed on the picnic table, waiting for more, so I was able to see close up, his lovely blue colors. It was obvious it wasn’t the first time he’d been fed by a person!

The distinctive sound that Blue Jays make always reminds me of the forest and that’s why I wish we had more of them around. I can’t answer why we don’t have them around, but it’s always a great day when I spot one!

Here’s my latest in the series; “Blue Jay in the Forest”:

Blue Jay in the Forest
“Blue Jay in the Forest”

{The Tamarack Mountain Studio watermark is not on the original painting.}

“Blue Jay in the Forest was painted on green Pastel Mat paper with soft pastels and is about 8″x10”. I just love all the different blue colors! Perhaps someday, a Blue Jay will grace the feeder again and it will be a special day!

Stay tuned for more Birds in Pastel! Thanks for taking time to stop by! Much Love ~ Rhonda

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Black Capped Chickadee in the Snow

In continuing with the “Birds in Pastel” Series , here is the second pastel bird painting, “Black Capped Chickadee in the Snow”. I created two pastel paintings of these birds because they are so cute! Chickadees are very prevalent in the winter, hence they are portrayed on snow covered branches. Flocks of Chickadees fly in and out of the pine trees hiding sunflower seeds they’ve taken from the bird feeder. They make the cutest chirping sounds signaling their joy in gathering sunflower seeds and hiding them. Sometimes I think it’s a waste of time because they never seem to go back and get their hidden stash. Usually a squirrel will come along and find the hidden sunflower seeds in the tree bark, and then the score is Squirrel 1, Chickadee 0.

Black Capped Chickadee in Snow Pastel
“Black Capped Chickadee in the Snow”

{The Tamarack Mountain Studio watermark is not on the original painting.}

This pastel was painted on Pastel Mat paper using soft pastels in cool tones to give the viewer a sense of cold temperatures and snow quietly falling on the Black Capped Chickadee.

I had a lot of fun painting the snow on the branches, but when it came time to add the falling snow, I was a bit hesitant. My dilemma on both paintings was how to portray falling snow, and not have it disappear against the white of the Chickadee. So I opted for a few snowflakes on the bird and the rest were just allowed to fall freely wherever I placed a mark. Here’s the first painting I shared in the previous post of a Black Capped Chickadee in the Snow with a warm tone color palette:

Back Capped Chickadee Pastel

Both paintings are different, and can stand alone as separate paintings, yet both look nice displayed together. They will be framed with the same frame style, most likely a white frame.

Next time, I will share a totally different bird species and he won’t be in the snow! Here’s a hint, blue is the color. Can you guess what type of bird I painted? Thanks for stopping by. Until next time ~ much love! Rhonda

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Birds in Pastel Series

The New Year always brings me opportunities for change, not only personally but creatively. I’ve decided to commit this year to the study and practice of pastels, and let the oil paints take a rest. So, I’ve been working on a “Birds in Pastel” series, as my first course of study, because birds are at the top of my list when it comes to my favorite animals.

I have owned parakeets and a love bird back in the day, and nowadays I just admire all the birds that visit our bird feeder each day. In the spring I put out four hummingbird feeders and have an abundance of beautiful hummingbirds!

I decided to make my second pastel a Black Capped Chickadee, because there are so many of these sweet little birds visiting the feeder right now. They fly in quickly, take a sunflower seed from the feeder, then fly to a nearby area to hide the seed in the bark of a pine tree.

The first pastel in the birds in pastel series was the Red Cardinal showcased in my previous post. I was super pleased how it turned out and it was perfect for the Christmas season. Now, perfect for winter are the Black Capped Chickadees! So here’s my second painting in the series, “Black Capped Chickadee”:

Back Capped Chickadee, Birds in Pastel Series
“Black Capped Chickadee”

{The Tamarack Mountain Studio watermark is not on the original.}

“Black Capped Chickadee” was done on pastel mat paper with soft pastel. I chose a muted palette to convey the quietness of winter. I’m really enjoying the tactile character of this medium and the immediacy of vibrant color on the paper. It’s sometimes hard for me to stop working on a piece cause its just so enjoyable to swipe pastel across the paper!

I painted two Chickadees for my “Birds in Pastel” series and will share the second one in the next post. I’m thinking they will look great together as a set when framed.

Thanks for stopping by! Much Love ~ Rhonda