Since the ground is now frozen, and my gardens finally have a bit of a blanket of snow, there are no pretty treasures to be found growing. There are pretty treasures flying around, though…. I have been enjoying many more birds this winter since I put up a couple of new feeders in my front door garden. I can see them from my kitchen window while working at the sink, or through the window in the entry door in the living room.
The feeder with our last name on it is one that Marla gave us a long time ago. I had it hanging a number of years ago off the deck where I have another feeder, but lately it has just been a decoration. I purchased the lantern looking one from Walmart, not really heavy, but holds a lot of seed, and has a tiny perching area that discourages the larger birds. We have had a few Blue Jays visiting, but they have not been too obnoxious. I am now wishing I had a camera that had better zoom capabilities… this is the closest I can get from the kitchen window. If I go outside, I tend to scare them off, and it is too cold to “lie in wait” very long this time of year.
This is the best I could get of a Junco sitting on one of the deck chairs. The door is about 10 feet from where this bird was sitting. As I crop and enlarge the photos, I loose detail in most photos. Junco’s are tricky this time of year, too, with their dark coloring against the white snow.
The above photo shows a Cardinal and a Goldfinch on the ground under the feeders. There have been lots of the little Goldfinches… this photo is not too great… It lost a lot in cropping.
Above is a Chickadee on one of the feeders. These little guys are really fun to watch, and I have sketched out a few of them and used them for a batch of art cards.
Here is another one perched on one of our deck chairs…
I printed out some photos and used them as guides for some sketches. I played with Chickadees more than the others… There is one Nuthatch and a Titmouse on the pages shown. Just above the sketchbook is a piece of fabric on freezer paper, and above that is a piece of paper. I began playing with the Derwent Inktense Watercolor pencils I got recently. You can see how the water I put on the first fabric Chickadee caused the color to run. I had a lot of learning to do….
I wanted to make Art Cards using some of my Chickadees, so drew outlines for the cards and sketched on the birds. I then colored in a couple of the birds after dampening the fabric with water. The first one I did was the right one, and the color bled into the background. I tried to hide the problem by adding extra blue… it didn’t hide it well. After that, I scribbled the blue on the wet fabric, allowed it to bleed for the sky, then dried it with the iron before dampening again and letting it almost dry before using the black and gray pencils.
This photo above shows another group of art cards colored. I added the brown pencil to look like the ornamental grasses that many birds like to perch on to find some seeds, or eat seeds from feeders. I let the grass lines bleed a bit to make it look more like the fluffy, soft grass heads. Most of the black pencil stayed where I wanted it once I was sure the fabric wasn’t too wet.
Once I had the coloring done, I fused the fabric to Peltex, then stitched the outlines of the birds with clear thread. I used gold metallic thread to add some shimmer to the grasses. When the sun hits the grasses just right, they look like they are sparkling, so the gold thread seemed to fit. My first bird is the upper middle one. The extra blue sticks out a lot…. that will be the card I keep for myself. After the stitching was done, I cut the cards to size (2.5″x3.5″), printed fabric for the backs, and tried to decide which yarn to use to bind the edges. My first thought was to use a deep blue stitched on with a variegated blue thread, but I didn’t have just what I had envisioned (and I thought I had a huge collection of yarns).
In the above photo, you can see a peek of “my” card upper left… I started trying a light blue yarn with the variegated thread… I didn’t like it… that is my card, so no problem…. I tried a different thread in light blue with white yarn…. not bad, but not what I wanted… Two more tries- a nubby dark blue, then a black suede…. not quite my vision…. Finally I used my favorite black yarn that has silver metallic through it. It is just the right weight of yarn to border the cards and not take away from them. Some times it takes a few tries to get things “just right”. The group above will be sent out for this month’s Arts in the Cards exchange.
This is another group of cards that will be available for purchase in my ArtFire Studio. After trying a couple of different ways of being sure the pencil was permanent, I found that fabric medium worked the best with a minimum of bleeding of color after I painted it on. A drop of gloss medium added to the little beady eyes helped them show a bit more. It has been a fun learning experience putting these little “flying flowers” into my art. I know I will have to do a lot more playing with the watercolor pencils. They will work great for my “regular” flowers, too.
This is a close-up shot of one of the ACEO’s that I have listed on ArtFire. They are now available- Choose from #1,#2,#3 or #4 in this listing, or Choose from #5,#6,#7,or #8 in this listing. Now I need to get back to making more mini photo albums…. and maybe play with my pencils on some of them.