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“Standing Guard” Pastel

“Standing Guard” is the next painting in the Birds in Pastel series. This new painting showcases a beautiful Buff Brahma rooster standing guard while a female eats her crumble.

The photo reference I used for “Standing Guard” is by a photographer on the website Pixabay named Klimkin. He takes beautiful photos and the Pixaby site allows free use of photos as long as the photographer is given credit. So be sure and give Klimkin a visit!

I sketched out my design in a sketchbook beforehand to get a sense of my values and palette colors. This practice helps me greatly in working out the composition first and foremost. I decided to omit a few of the foreground items in the original photo to give emphasis to these beautiful birds. I used graphite for the notan sketch then moved to watercolors to get a sense of hues for the piece.

Sketchbook notes for "Standing Guard"

I am happy with the overall outcome, and love the vibrant colors of the buff Brahma chickens, which the pastels were a perfect medium to depict their beauty.

Standing Guard Pastel
“Standing Guard”

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

I love chickens and used to own three Buff Orpington hens. I raised them from week-old chicks and had so much fun with these sweet docile chickens. Their names were Barbie Q. Chicken, Rose T. Chicken and Fry D. Chicken. Get it? Anyway, in our neighborhood we’re not allowed to have chickens, but we got some anyway and put them discreetly in the backyard. We have wild turkeys running loose already, so what’s the diff?

Well, all was going well and we were getting three eggs a day and then I realized I was now confined to home and couldn’t leave to go on vacation! Someone has to gather eggs daily to keep the hens from becoming broody, or worse, eating their eggs! Since we weren’t technically allowed to have chickens I couldn’t very well ask a neighbor to take care of them should we want to go out of town.

I kept up the care of my sweet girls all summer and stayed home. No big deal. Then one day one of the chickens decided she was a rooster and began to make loud calls every morning. This was not going to go well if one of the neighbors complained, even though the wild turkeys roaming the neighborhood are just as loud. But I felt guilty and so we gave them away to a local farm.

I miss my girls. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted and the fresh eggs were so delicious! But, I was free from the confinement of home and they were well cared for in their new farm home. The new owners gave us free eggs every week which was very cool. Here’s one of the girls:

Barbie Q. Chicken Buff Orpington
Barbie Q. Chicken

My husband wants us to have chickens again, but I don’t think we will. The neighborhood is growing with a lot of new people building homes and I feel we need to stick to the rules of “no farm animals” allowed. But hey, a cat can be considered a farm animal as well as a dog, right? And as I said there are herds of wild turkeys roaming around so what harm can having a couple chickens bring? But then I’d be back to square one of not being able to go out of town, so that’s a big No to the chickens!

I have a few more birds I want to paint in this series; a sparrow and a robin and then I think this series will be finished for awhile. My attention will turn to landscapes and sunsets in pastel for the next two series. I’m enjoying working on a series since I’ve never done so before. I’ve always just painted whatever my attention was on that day, but working in a series is keeping me disciplined and motivated.

Thanks for stopping in and until next time, much Love! ~ Rhonda

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