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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

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Poinsettia in Pastel

Merry Christmas!

Recently, I purchased a few poinsettia plants to decorate for the holidays. They are displayed in the living room and look so festive! I just love Poinsettias.

I also treated myself to a large order of new pastels! I finally got some rich reds that my palette was lacking. This haul of pastels is my Christmas gift to me.

Pastels and supplies

See the lower center small box of pastels with all the tones of red? That box inspired me to paint one of the Poinsettia plants and I had a great time doing so! Here’s the finished piece, “Poinsettia in Pastel”, which will be framed as a 5”x7” and used in the future as part of my Christmas decor…

Poinsettia  Pastel
Poinsettia in Pastel

Here’s a photo of the studio still life setup:

Studio  still life setup

My poinsettia plant is a bit thin in the leaves department because I almost killed both of them! The poinsettias are on the fireplace hearth where they don’t get my constant attention and I forget to check them daily for water. One day, I happened to look at the fireplace and both Poinsettias were wilted! “That’s just great”, I thought!

I rushed the plants into the kitchen and gave them long drinks. One perked up right away, the other was too far gone and lost most of its leaves. The one in the studio is the Poinsettia that survived the best, so I thought I’d better paint it before it’s gone, cause I just might forget to water them again.

All my shopping is done, and gifts have been shipped. I baked some Christmas sugar cookies using a new recipe off the back of the flour bag. Let’s just say that it was a wasted day, sadly. The recipe was awful and the cookies reflected that! We stomached a handful of them and threw the rest in the trash. Even icing didn’t help. The recipe called for sour cream and it just didn’t work. Yuck!

Well, that’s my excitement for the week! After the holidays I’ll be sharing the bird series in pastel that I’ve been working on. Here’s a sneak peak:

Red Cardinal Pastel
“Red Cardinal in the Snow”

(The Tamarack Mountain Studio watermark is not on the original paintings.)

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I’ll see you next year! Much Love ~Rhonda

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Bearded Iris Pastel

This week I worked on a new pastel using my Bearded Iris from my flower garden as my subject. The flower garden is a small patch surrounded by a fence to keep the deer out. It contains three Rose bushes, Iris, Lillies, Hollyhocks and Clematis plus hanging baskets of Petunias. Every so often I’ll plant sunflowers but that’s doesn’t go well, because the squirrels and chipmunks dig up the seeds before the sunflowers can take root. These days I start sunflowers indoors and plant them outside as a seedlings so the squirrels can’t change my garden plans.

Here’s a pic of this heavenly spot where the Iris grow:

Bearded Iris in the garden

Next week the weather is going to take a drastic change and go from the delightful 70’s to the 50’s with temps at night dipping in to the low 30’s. There’s even snow forecasted! The garden will be over with next week, so I figured this would be a good time to paint a new pastel in memory of this year’s abundant beauty. I used a photo reference for this piece because the Iris are long gone for this year.

On the easel – “Bearded Iris” pastel

I have a new pastel tray thanks to my husband, who built it for me. It will be fun filling it up with pastels. Right now it looks like I don’t have any pastels to speak of, but every color I need is there. The shelving has wheels so I can move the pastels close to my easel.

Here’s a pic of the finished piece. The watermark is not on the pastel and is done for online purposes. “Bearded Iris” Pastel is 7” x 9.5”. I’m super pleased with how it turned out.

“Bearded Iris” Pastel

If you like this new work, hit the “Like” button below. You don’t have to leave a comment, but clicking on the “Like” button let’s me know I have readers out there who enjoy reading my posts. The more readers, the more posts I will create. Otherwise, if I’m talking to myself, then there won’t be any posts.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a super weekend! Go out and enjoy the fall colors! Much Love ~ Rhonda