Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bluebirds and Ice

Eastern Bluebirds in Tennessee do not migrate, but stay with us throughout the winter. They are joined by other bluebirds from neighboring states to form small winter flocks to aid survival.
Finding food became more difficult two weeks ago, when freezing rain coated everything with 1/4 inch of ice and temperatures plunged to single digits for several days.  Though incredibly beautiful, the ice and severe cold created harsh conditions that can use up a bird's fat reserves very rapidly.
Seeing bluebirds plucking tiny ice-coated berries from the burning bush offered some reassurance that they were finding some nutrition.  I instantly wanted to paint this scene, drawn by its delicate beauty and the story of survival it represents.
For more about these sketches and the bluebirds that inspired them visit:
Winter Watercolor--Bluebirds on Ice at Vickie's Sketchbook.
For more about feeding wintering bluebirds visit:  Ice and Bluebirds--a Special Matter at Vickie Henderson Art.  

Monday, March 2, 2015


We've just come back from a fortnight in Tenerife and having gone for a lazy time in the sun I decided to draw the palm trees in the gardens while relaxing on my sunbed!  These Derwent line painters are great on the tinted paper in my sketchbook but I think the heat had an unfortunate effect on them and caused a bit of 'blobbing' which I had to rescue with my waterbrush by spreading it further across the paper.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Snow - 9 Inches -- Lin Frye


Crazy day yesterday with over 9" of snow ... so beautiful ... but couldn't relax with the power on, then out for hours ... thank heavens it was restored late afternoon.  Did manage to keep warm by shoveling snow a bit, and while we had a bit of power in the morning, managed to sketch the view of our sideyard before my tracks disturbed the cushion of white.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Snow 2 24 15 - Lin Frye

Journal --

My front yard yesterday -- covered in snow. We're in for another few inches tonight ..... The ornamental grasses, pines and birches giving bits of color in the grey. The plunge back to freezing weather killed all the blooms on my Prunus mume (flowering apricot) ... I hope the fig trees survive ...

Lin Frye
North Carolina

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Another cold winter day -- Sandy Williiams

I'm getting a bit tired of all this snow but I keep telling myself, "At least I don't live in Boston!"  The temperatures dipped to twelve below zero yesterday morning but we've had an improvement this morning.  Since we're expecting more snow tonight I zipped out and stocked up on groceries so I won't have to go out driving on slick roads for a few days.  I did this sketch from the warmth of my bedroom window today in my moleskine journal with pen and ink and Derwent watercolor pencils.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Killdeer Foraging

Dale and I observed an interesting killdeer behavior three days ago.  Two killdeer were walking in very, very short grass.  The killdeer vibrated the vegetation for a moment, then would take a step and vibrate with the other foot.  Frequently they reached down for a tidbit of food.  The ground was cold and so insects and such wouldn't be very active.  I suspect they were spooking the insects into just enough movement to find them.  I've seen a similar behavior in shallow water done by Bonaparte's gulls, but never by killdeer.  ...... my birds look a little plump, I think partly because they were a little fluffed to keep warm, but mostly because field sketches sometimes turn out a little wonky.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

30 Minute White Out - Lin Frye

Journal -

A 30 minute white-out that followed our brief snowfall this week.  I could hardly see the trees near my house.  Then a drop in the temps -- 4F this morning.

After our short snow storm early this week which turned to sleet after 90 minutes, then sleet turned to freezing rain. I was able to clear the stairs yesterday, put another light in the cathouse on the porch for additional warmth -- but my long driveway is an ice rink --- our gravel road --- ice chunks, and our paved road hasn't been touched .... As long as the power holds, I'm okay ..... schools closed again as most businesses.

Here in piedmont NC we are not used to any of this ... so the few plows we have get the main roads ... and since we live 4 miles from the main road, we usually have to wait for a warm up or someone with a tractor and private plow before we can get out. We're supposed to have rain and warmer temps on Sunday ... thank heavens we stocked up on everything before the storm.

Lin Frye
North Carolina