There’s a bird, and there’s snow, and this also happens to be a “snowbird”, or a dark-eyed junco, clinging to a forsythia branch in my backyard. Their small rounded shape with white bellies have always looked to me as if they were dipped into paint.
“Snowbird” is one of a set of four paintings of birds in my back yard in winter. They are ones I’d done “from life”, actually standing at a window inside or at my back door rather than en plein air, but even back in the day I had film photos later that I could reference if I needed to. With a subject this small I liked the way I had worked the bird and the branches and the snow on them, but I wasn’t sure about the background, initially making it in shades of blue. But the point of it was also the falling snow and that’s what I finished when I looked at the film photo, the snow falling thickly and at a slant.
I truly love winter paintings because the light is wonderful without the shadows from trees, the reflections from the snow illuminating shadowed areas with soft purples and blues, and the patterns made by bare branches are mesmerizing. A small bird might otherwise be lost in leaves but is instead a focal point on a branch.
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