G is for Goldfinch

“to live in this world

you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go”

~ Mary Oliver

I found a beautifully crisp image for one of my favorite birds on Paint My Photo.  It’s the third image down on this page:  http://paintmyphoto.ning.com/main/search/search?q=goldfinch&page=2  I’d like to thank Rodney Campbell for his wonderful photography work.

Now, let’s all close our eyes and pretend it’s 75 degrees and sunny, or our friend here might feel overdressed!


There’s nothing more beautiful than a male goldfinch in the summertime, sporting his bright yellow plumage (and is this a dynamite image, or what?)   If you’d like to experience these beautiful visitors in your backyard, you might consider purchasing a thistle feeder and installing it near a window.  We have one, and all of the perches are full quite often during the year.

If you’re interested in purchasing a feeder, I recommend the upside-down feeders for goldfinches.  Otherwise, you’ll have a crowd of house finches, which aren’t nearly as beautiful.  So, if yellow is your color, you might want to look for a feeder such as this one:  http://www.amazon.com/Perky-Pet-399-Patented-Upside-Thistle/dp/B000ARMH4A   It’s fun to watch them hanging upside down and eating, and this keeps other birds unable to hang upside down (which may be all of them!) away from your thistle, which can become expensive if you have a whole lot of goldfinches around, let alone all the other birds that enjoy it..

Here is my attempt to capture this guy in my Polychromos colored pencils:

goldfinch 01082015

In the interest of time, I do all of my colored pencil work with no underlying pencil sketch, and no erasures.  (I should probably change this, as I’m sure it’d improve the end result!)    This one took much longer than I had planned, as I decided to use several colors vs. the one color I typically choose.   I just had to try and replicate his beautiful plumage.  Took about an hour this morning, which is about 40 minutes longer than the time I had figured on, but once I got started, I just had to press on.

I took Rachel’s advice over at http://rachelm.wordpress.com/ and used a larger sketchbook for this one.  This is a Stonehenge 7×7″ pad in Cream.  It is 100% cotton, acid free paper, and is a joy to work with.  (Dick Blick had a great buy on them right after Christmas.  I admit, I’m a little addicted to that site!)  Colors used were: cadmium yellow lemon, lt cad ylw, naples ylw, dk naples ochre, raw umber, bistre, cold grey V, brown ochre, leaf green, permanent grn and pine grn.

There are so many talented artists following my progress here, which is very humbling.  You all inspire me more than you realize.  If anyone can suggest some tips for making my daily artwork a less time-consuming process, I’d be all ears.  I’m in the tax business, and by about mid-February, I’ll be lucky to have 10-15 minutes max per day for art, but I don’t want to break my promise to myself to make something every day.  It helps me so much to decompress.

I have another bird planned for the letter H tomorrow.  I’m pretty excited about that one also.  Will I be up to the task?  I hope you’ll stop by and find out.   Thanks for visiting!

10 thoughts on “G is for Goldfinch

  1. Your goldfinch is truly excellent. I’m from Iowa where the goldfinch is the state bird. I live in Texas where the state bird is the mockingbird (wouldn’t you know it… stupid Texas politicians require a MOCKINGbird jest on principle). I also highly approve of colored pencil, the preferred medium of those of us who are actually children at heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You did a really nice job on this one! wow. Glad you like the larger sketch book format. I find that the things that interest me are the details, or the shadings in petals or smaller parts, and when I use a smaller paper or sketchpad then I don’t get to fully enjoy those parts, if that makes sense.


    1. Thank you so much, Rachel. You’re so kind.

      Yeah, you make perfect sense. I find I like the details too, almost to the point that I wish all of my sketches could be like the owl eye. I’d love to focus on a detail like that on all of my animals and birds, but then it’d be hard to recognize most of them. The owl was perfect, unmistakable, but I wish they all could be like that. I like snippets like that too, because they allow me to keep to a 10-15 minute timeframe, which is ideal.


  3. Hi, great plan for 2015. Thanks for coming by and following the Art Prescription. I’ve been doing a haiku and piece of art a day for three years! It’s a lovely part of my day. Happy art making, Beverly Dyer


    1. Beverly, thank you so much. Your blog is an inspiration! I love the haiku add. I used to enjoy writing poetry in my late teens and twenties; I just may try that as well. Thanks for following me, also!

      How have you managed to keep up your streak for three years? That’s incredible! Life has to get in the way at times, but I’d love to make this a lifelong habit. Any tips?


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