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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:


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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Summer is flying by, as are the birds!

Summer is flying by, as are the birds. They  are leaving us for their migration south, and all is quiet in the morning now. No more loud jungle style bird sounds at 3:30 in the morning. That’s a good thing for those of us who like to sleep. My little Hummingbirds are all but gone, and so are the Robins.

I was lucky enough to come upon this Robin’s nest in a low lying branch of one of our pine trees, thanks to my husband’s discovery. We were able to watch the growth cycle of four newly hatched baby Robins. So cool! When we first saw them they were but a few days old. Here are a few photos and a short video of the baby Robins:


Newly hatched baby Robins

Nature is so amazing to me. You can see the bird’s ear holes and they have just a few wisps of feathers. We had to use a mirror to reflect back to the camera because they were tucked down deep into the nest.

A week later I checked on the Robins to make sure they were still in the nest and that no predator had discovered them. To my amazement, they had grown  almost all their feathers and their eyes were open! I never once heard the babies make any sounds; I think this is what protects them from predators.

We had a huge thunderstorm one night with 60 mph winds, but mama Robin had built her nest so well, that the storm didn’t bother her babies and they were still safely tucked in their nest the next morning.


Baby Robins in their nest

A week later, I was working in the garden and remembered I should check on the nest and was shocked to see the growth that had taken place! They grew so fast. I am so glad I snapped this last photo, because a few days later they were gone.


Baby Robins almost grown

The new family can hardly fit in the nest. They still made no sounds, and I was grateful my presence didn’t make them want to fly away. This is such a joy to see, because I adore birds. I have owned two parakeets and a love bird in my earlier days, and I feel birds are just innocent beautiful creatures.

Here’s a small video clip:


What summer highlights have you enjoyed so far? For me, it’s been nature, my flowers and veggie gardens, and painting plein air when possible. Unfortunately, we are experiencing wildfire smoke from nearby fires and the atmosphere has turned ugly, so no painting outside for a bit. We are  going to get rain in a few days and hopefully the smoke will go away.

Thanks for stopping by. Much Love ~ Rhonda