August Artwork (Draw a Bird Day Roundup)

Better late than never, right? Life and work get in the way sometimes, but I wanted everyone to get a chance to see the amazing bird artwork so many talented bloggers posted in August for the Draw a Bird Day celebration!   A special thanks to Kathy at Backyard Bird Nerd and all of our WordPress photographers for their beautiful work and reference images! In case you missed anyone’s post, here are the links to our participants’ bird celebrations from August:

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Michael of A Certain Line contributed whimsical mixed media artwork

Jill at Jill’s Art Journal contributed a brown-headed nuthatch in watercolor

Charlie at Doodlewash contributed a macaw in watercolor

Kerfe at Method Two Madness contributed a flicker in paint and collage

Jodi at Life in Between painted a pink flamingo in watercolor

Dawn at Brush of Dawn painted a crow in acrylics recently (I couldn’t find the artwork at your August link, Dawn, but love your crow too!)

Marcy Erb at Illustrated Poetry contributed some stork artwork

Cave Painter contributed a bald eagle in watercolor

Birgit Winter at Winter Art Blog painted a crow for us

Michelle Kogan painted a watercolor turkey

Carrie of Carrie Cordero Designs painted a tailorbird in watercolor

Jeanette Clawson at Lunanista contributed some mixed media swallows

Snehal Kank contributed a watercolor cardinal

Carolina at Yesterday After contributed a watercolor bluebird

0806 2Arsty Birdy of The Leaf Diary contributed a bird drawn in ink

Teri of Teri’s Sketch Journal painted in watercolor a very colorful painted bunting

Beverly of The Art Prescription contributed some crows in brush ink

Annie of Annie Draws Things contributed a sweet bee hummingbird in watercolor

Carol of Carol’s Creative Papers painted a pileated woodpecker in watercolor for us

Alison at East Witching contributed watercolor cardinal art and at this link, you can purchase a print if you like


I hope everyone enjoyed creating and viewing my talented friends’ creations this month! If you posted bird art in August, and do not see a link to your work here, then either I made a booboo, or I did not have a link to your work underneath my August 8 bird post in the comments section. Please add a link to your August Draw a Bird Day post in the comments here, though, and we’ll be sure to add you to the list!

I am taking a blogging break, although I hope to return soonish.    Are we all celebrating September and the advent of autumn’s flaming colors and cool breezes?    You know I am!   Peace and Happy Football Sunday to all!

Draw a Bird Day, August issue! (100 Face Challenge, #71)

I want to once again thank our friend Michael Emberson at A-Wing and A-Way for letting us know about the annual Draw A Bird Day celebration, which happens April 8 each year. We’ve been celebrating with bird art on the eighth of every month since!     I also want to thank Kathy at Backyard Bird Nerd for this tremendous bluebird reference image.    Kathy regularly shares amazing shots of birds, blooms, butterflies, you name it, even poetry on her blog here on WP.   Please check her site out, if you haven’t already.

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I grabbed a few quick minutes with a pen from the office (the Signo 207 by Uniball used to be water soluble, so have a try if you have one of the old ones, it’s great fun) and my Strathmore Visual Watercolor journal.   This journal is a great one to choose if you’ve always thought you’d like to try watercolor.   It is very inexpensive at $5.29, and you can pick up a really nice starter travel palette, which includes a brush, 12 colors, and 3 mixing wells for under $15.    This is pretty much all you need to begin watercolor sketching, and this time of year is a perfect time to get started! (affiliate links)

FYI, Blick Art Materials is offering Free Shipping for all orders of $35 or more through 11:59 Pacific Time this Friday, August 12!

I’ll be posting a roundup with links to all of the artwork of everyone participating in August’s Draw a Bird Day celebration in about a week.    If you’d like your artwork to be included, please post a link to your work in the comments below.    Thanks so much, and have a wonderful week everyone.    Peace.

Draw a Bird Day July Artwork Assembly (World Watercolor Month 17/31)

I’d like to recognize and thank our July Draw a Bird Day artists, who posted their lovely bird artwork for our monthly celebration on the eighth!   I would also like to thank Philip Schwarz of Philip Schwarz photography for the wonderful bluebird reference image for my graphite drawing.  I hope you all enjoy the bird art this month!

071716 2Jodi at Life in Between contributed a watercolor hummingbird

Carrie Lynn contributed a watercolor flamingo and a watercolor toucan too (a new contributor, please check out her site; she’s rocking World WC Month!)

Henis Happy Paintings contributed a crow in the moonlight in acrylics (another new contributor!)

Annie of Annie Draws Things also joined us for the first time, and here is her orange watercolor canary

Sissh of Sissh Art Journal, another first-time contributor, posted her watercolor birds in an illustrative style

Rebecca at Rebecca Evans Create contributed her hummingbird hawk moth in a “brusho” she invented herself and shared her recipe(!)

Sharon at Monday Tuesday Wednesday contributed a rainbow toucan in watercolor

Dawn at Brush of Dawn Oil Paintings contributed an oil painting of one of her hens

Ann Christina contributed a watercolor hummingbird based on one of Kathy’s wonderful photographs at Backyard Bird Nerd

Tequihby at One Stumble at a Time contributed a watercolor toucan as well (popular bird this month!)

Snehal Kank contributed a house finch in watercolor

Judith at Artistcoveries contributed an imaginary bird, also in watercolor

Deborah at Circadian Reflections contributed a lazuli bunting in watercolor

Carol at Carol’s Creative Papers contributed a seagull in watercolor

Kerfe at Method Two Madness contributed her paintings of her local crow in ink and her blogging partner Nina contributed a watercolor owl

Jill of Jill’s Art Journal contributed her watercolor sketch of a common redpoll

Carolina of Yesterday After also contributed a watercolor hummingbird, another popular bird this month, when we see them often at our feeders

Charlie of Doodlewash, also known as the Grand Master of World Watercolor Month(!), which we are all having so much fun with, contributed his watercolor of a kingfisher

Beverly at Art Prescription contributed her folk art birds

Myriam at Myr’s Bites contributed her watercolor bearded reedling

and Susan of Susan Feniak’s Art contributed a mama and baby grebe in watercolor this month – are you starting to see a watercolor theme this month?! Many of us are enjoying Charlie’s World Watercolor Month challenge.   I hope you’ll join us, if you’ve not already; it’s going on all month!

I’d like to close with my entry for World Watercolor Month today, an abstract bird in watercolor.  

Happy Sunday, and please make time to fill up your peace tank.    The world could use a lot more of it!


Happy Hummer: Draw a Bird Day, July Issue (and 100 Face Challenge, #69)!

Happy Friday!   Happy Draw a Bird Day!   It’s time to once again thank and recognize our friend M. R. Emberson at A-Wing and A-Way for informing us about the original Draw a Bird Day, celebrated annually on April 8.  A bunch of my artist buddies and I have been celebrating it on the eighth of each month ever since!    I hope you’ll enjoy.   This is on 8 x 5″ 300-lb. Arches cold press (which helped me out a whole lot on this one):

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I decided some time ago that I wanted to paint a hummingbird this month in watercolor for DABD, since July is also World Watercolor Month, sponsored (and created) by our friend Charlie O’Shields over at Doodlewash.   I sketched them over and over, head, beak, body, you name it, I even painted one a couple of times in a sketch book, based on an illustration from a book.   I wasn’t happy enough with the artwork to share them.   Then an amazing photographer by the name of Emily Carter Mitchell of Bella Remy Photography posted this shot of a hummingbird yesterday that she worked with an engineer to orchestrate!   And let me tell you, it’s a beaut!   She graciously gave me permission to use her beautiful, crisp image in my painting today.   And boy, did it give me a huge hand up!   Thanks again, Emily!

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I used a #2 round Isabey kolinsky sable (this is from a line of really nice but reasonably priced brushes) to paint everything but the eye.   For that, I took another artist’s advice (sorry, can’t remember her blog name at the moment) and bought a very small Winsor & Newton Series 7 sable brush.   The WN line of brushes is really expensive, but since there are very few hairs in that fine brush, and the hairs are fairly short, it isn’t too crazy at under $16.   It does work wonderfully for very small areas like that one, and I’m sure it will last a long time, so it’s all good in the end.   Sometimes you really need something very fine to get the job done.     (Note:  As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help to support my site.   Enjoy and thank you!)

If you would like your bird artwork to be included in my roundup in about a week, please put a link to your work in my comments below.    Thanks so much for helping us make WordPress fly in July!  😀

Are we dancing?   I think it’s time!    Speaking of which, I just have to share a link to this video from Britt Nicole, as the song “Headphones” came on my Pandora station while I was painting this yesterday, and now I can’t get it out of my mind.   I dare you not to dance when you hear this; it’s so zippy and happy!  Happy FRIDAY and I hope you enjoy the dance today!   Peace.

Aquabord Rinse and Redo #2: Bluebird in Watercolor (and 100 Face Challenge #68!)

I thought I would make another attempt at Kathy’s beautiful bluebird photo used in yesterday’s artwork done in Inktense watercolor pencils. This time, I used my full (mostly M. Graham) watercolor palette and a #2 round Isabey Kolinsky sable (this is a well-made, affordable line of sable brushes that I really enjoy.)    I began with a painting I had done previously and didn’t love, and was (happily!) able to rinse completely back to the white Aquabord surface. (As a watercolor beginner, I really love this very forgiving surface!)


I tried a few things with this painting that I’ve never tried before:

  1. I didn’t draw the bluebird on my surface first, just went right in with the paint, as I’ve worked with this reference photo recently.
  2. I began with a dry surface, which I have never tried yet with the Aquabord (and rarely try even on paper).
  3. As mentioned, I began by rinsing off a painting I’d created over a month ago, and was still able to rinse back to the original white (wasn’t sure if that would work after so much time had passed.)

Aquabord is a very forgiving surface, and after this experience, I think that every watercolorist should try it at least once.   Here’s why:

  1. I got a phone call in the middle of this painting.   If I had been working with paper, I wouldn’t have been able to take that call, because I would most likely have lost the ability to blend colors, would have had hard edges, etc.    With Aquabord, I had those problems, but they were easily corrected with a damp brush.
  2. If at any time, you’re unhappy with the results, just rinse off the painting.    Ampersand, the manufacturer, doesn’t recommend submerging the surface (because you risk warping the hardboard surface underneath).  They suggest taking a damp brush or rag (and damp Q-tips work great too) to lift off mistakes.   Personally, I have rinsed Aquabord under running water multiple times without a problem.   I was listening to a video on Artist’s Network TV recently (can’t remember the artist, sorry) and that artist does it as well!   I just use my thumb in gentle, circular motions under the running faucet, and in about five minutes, I am back to a clean, white surface.    Yes, even with staining pigments!   Not sure how you can beat that in the world of watercolor.
  3. You don’t have to even think about it buckling, warping, etc.   It will remain flat as a board (ha ha) no matter how much water you throw at it.
  4. For the artist working outdoors, here is a surface that won’t blow away, and doesn’t have to be stretched or taped down.
  5. For the artist on a budget, no more worries about wasting expensive watercolor paper when the results aren’t what you were aiming for.   All you have to do is rinse the surface, or correct it with a soft, damp Q-tip, paper towel, etc.   Very easily corrected, I might add.
  6. If I were a skilled painter, I think it would be much easier to get dynamite results with Aquabord vs. watercolor paper.

Those are my thoughts, and I would love to get your feedback about this surface!    (Note:   As a Blick affiliate, purchases from these links will help to support my site.)   World Watercolor Month starts tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to it!   I hope you are too.    The July edition of Draw A Bird Day is Friday, July 8!  I hope you’ll join us!  Peace and puddles of paint to all!

Watercolor Pencils for Nature Lovers (and 100 Face Challenge #66)!

If you’re a little insecure about working with watercolor paint, but you enjoy natural subjects as I do, then watercolor pencils may be a medium to consider.

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These Graphitint pencils by Derwent, swatched out on the sheet above, were on my Christmas list last year.    This YouTube video by The Mind of Watercolor (great channel, by the way) sold me on these pencils.   The full set contains 24 pencils, but they also come in a starter set of 12, which are the colors in the top half of the photo.  Each pencil is water soluble, and contains a bit of graphite in addition to the watercolor pigments, lending an organic feeling to your work. Watercolor pencils were the first artist quality supplies I purchased nearly two years ago, because they gave me a feeling of security and control  as a watercolor beginner.    Sharing in case this may help someone else out there, too!

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I began with a quick sketch of my bird, using only three colors from the set: Warm Grey, Midnight Black and Chestnut.    Then I dampened a small watercolor brush, and liquified the color.   You’ll see the color becomes more vibrant after water is added, even though the painting in the photo below is fully dry.   As a beginner unused to mixing my own colors, watercolor pencils made it easier for me to gradually slip into the world of watercolor.   Thank you, Kathy at Backyard Bird Nerd, for another wonderful image of a tufted titmouse that helped me big time with my little sketch last night.   🙂

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Blick is offering free shipping on orders of $35 or more through Friday of this week, which saves you $4.95, their flat rate shipping charge.  The set of 12 Graphitint pencils is priced at about $16.50 at Blick, the full set, under $38.    A sweet deal, as these pencils will probably last me at least 10 years or so, probably more!   (Note:   As a Blick affiliate, purchases from these links help to support my site.)     Are you gearing up for World Watercolor Month yet?   Can you believe it starts on Friday?!   Followed by a loooong holiday weekend in the States!   So exciting!    I may review the Derwent Inktense line of water soluble pencils tomorrow.    The colors in that set are really bright and vibrant, and have some unique properties I think you’ll be glad to hear about, too!   I hope you have a wonderful Tuesday, and that you do something special for yourself today.   You deserve it!   Peace.

Getting ready for World Watercolor Month in July! (100 Face Challenge #65)

You don’t need expensive materials and supplies to join us next month for World Watercolor Month. I learned last night that a pen from the office can be turned into watercolor!    First, I need to thank Kathy for another wonderful reference image.   Birds, blooms, butterflies… name it, Kathy’s got it over at Backyard Bird Nerd.   You have got to check her site out if you haven’t already.   I sketched this in my 8 x 5 1/2″ Strathmore Visual Watercolor journal:


I was inspired by Charlie at Doodlewash, who recently painted a female cardinal and it was just lovely.    It made me want to try a bird painting, as I’ve not done one in awhile.   I always think of Kathy’s site immediately when I’m looking for a backyard bird, as her images are so crisp, and her birds have personality!    Love it!    So I typed “female cardinal” into Kathy’s search box, and poof!    Loads of posts with the bird I wanted to sketch!   I sketched her with one of the pens I use in the office, a Uniball 207 by Signo.    Touched it with a damp, small watercolor brush and there you have it, a quick watercolor painting.   Uniball still makes these pens, but they are going to a waterproof ink for many of them now, it seems, as I searched Staples for links for you.

The good news though is for a couple dollars more, you can pick up a compact, introductory watercolor palette that will go with you anywhere and includes a brush!   The Sketcher’s box from Winsor and Newton’s Cotman line goes for under $15 at Blick, which in my opinion is one of the best art supply deals going.   This is my favorite “every day” palette, as it has a very small (roughly 5 x 2.5″) footprint, you can mix colors in the three mixing wells in the flip-up lid, and 12 half-pans of color are included.    I started with this palette almost two years ago, and haven’t run out of a color yet!    So for $20, you can have a brush, a palette, paint and a watercolor journal, which is everything you need to join in the fun next month!   (Note:   As a Blick affiliate, purchases from these links help to support my site.)

If you’ve always wanted to paint in watercolor, I hope you’ll join us next month!    It’ll be lots of fun, and it’s a great introduction to the lovely playground of art!     I’ll have more ideas for the watercolor beginner this week.    Thanks as always for stopping by and joining in the conversation.   Peace and a productive, creative week to all!


Let’s Celebrate our June Draw a Bird Day artists! (100 Face Challenge #64)

I want to thank Michael Emberson of A-Wing and A-Way, who informed the WordPress community about the April 8 Draw a Bird Day holiday just over a year ago. Many of us have been celebrating birds on the eighth of every month since!    A special thanks to Kathy at Backyard Bird Nerd for her tremendous photos, including this recent one I’ve rendered with a 4B pencil below.   Kathy, you’ve spoiled me.   And kept me very busy with your many amazingly detailed (and often sassy) images, thank you!    In case you missed anyone’s bird art, here are the links to our participants’ artwork this month:


The ladies at Method Two Madness contributed a verse and a mockingbird (Kerfe) and a parrot (Nina)

Judith at Artistcoveries contributed a watercolor scarlet tanager

I recently found Dawn at Brush of Dawn through Judith, and she’s done some lovely bird paintings – here is her owl and the raven I fell in love with (and not just cause I’m a Ravens fan)

Deborah at Circadian Reflections contributed a watercolor killdeer

Carol at Carol’s Creative Papers posted her watercolor pelican, inspired by a recent trip

Jodi at Life in Between painted a blue heron in watercolor

Susan at Susan Feniak’s art contributed a watercolor heron too!

Jeanette at Lunanista contributed a cardinal as part of an altered book

Teresa Robeson contributed a palila in watercolor marker

Teri at Teri2Creations contributed a bat in watercolor and pastel

Jill at Jill’s Art Journal contributed three mixed media whimsical birds

OutsideAuthority contributed a textile bird

Myriam at Myr’s Bites contributed an ink and marker Anna’s hummingbird

CavePainter contributed a robin in mixed media

Carolina at Yesterday After contributed a girl with a bird in watercolor

Charlie at Doodlewash doodlewashed a duck in watercolor for us

Ann at Ann Christina contributed a bluethroat in watercolor

and last but by no means least, Quinn Creative contributed an incredible minimalist word collage of a crow

I want to thank all of my talented friends for helping WordPress fly once again!   I hope you all enjoyed the artwork from my talented friends this month! If you posted bird art and do not see a link to your work here, then I did not have a link to you or your work underneath my June 8 bird post in the comments section. Please add a link in the comments here, though, and we’ll be sure to add you to the list!

Next month, July, is now World Watercolor Month, thanks to the magic and amazingness of our friend Charlie at Doodlewash! Let’s give Charlie a round of applause! So for the next couple of weeks, I’m going to post a few things I’ve learned about watercolor, experiment with some different colors, surfaces, brushes, etc. and share some of the wonderful YouTubers I’ve discovered that helped me out in my quest to learn the watercolor dance. I’m by no means an expert, but I really want to help Charlie promote World Watercolor Month (because isn’t it just amazing he got this done?!). He paints one watercolor each and every day and is nearly up to 365 days in a row of doing this, a feat all its own, but he’d like us to join him by posting a watercolor painting each day this July. I will try, but I’m not putting any pressure on myself, can’t risk strangling the muse, but I know he would love it if we could join him in the fun next month. *waving my pom poms on Charlie’s behalf*

Happy Almost Weekend to all, and enjoy the birdies today. Peace.

Draw a Bird Day (June Remix) and 100 Face Challenge #62!

It’s time to recognize our friend Michael Emberson at A-Wing and A-Way once again for informing the WP community about the annual Draw A Bird Day holiday on April 8. Some of us love birds so much that we decided to celebrate it monthly on the eighth of each month!     If you’d like your artwork to be included in my roundup this month, please post a link to your bird art in my comments section here.   Thanks so much for joining in!


I also want to thank Kathy at Backyard Bird Nerd for this incredible closeup of a blue jay that allowed me to get some great detail into my pen sketch last night.    Kathy, you and your work shine so brightly here at WordPress!    I sketched this one once or twice in pencil until I was happy with the shapes, and then for this ink work, I find it usually works better if I go right to ink.   If I try to underdraw in pencil first, it seems to kill my mojo.    Sketching for a few months without an eraser has really helped train me for pen work.    Once I was finished, I used a blue Neocolor crayon to draw lightly here and there in the body of the bird, then go back with a wet brush to liquefy the color and spread it around.    Neocolors can give so many different effects, and are highly portable.  Watercolor would have worked too, but I wanted a “barely there” wash, and my palette wasn’t close by at the time, hehe.    (As a Dick Blick affiliate, I may receive a small percentage of your purchase from this link to help support my site.)

I would also like to join in Charlie’s nature walk this month over at Doodlewash!   Charlie has a different theme each month, and in June he is celebrating nature, which is one of my favorite things indeed, and what inspired me to begin my art journey nearly two years ago now.    If you’d like to join Charlie this month, post your nature artwork, and attach the tag #naturedoodlewash.  He’ll do a roundup at the end of the month showcasing the nature-themed work, so stay tuned for that!

Can you smell the weekend?   I sure can!    Cool breezes are forecast for today and I’m looking forward to it!   Peace and peeps to all.