Saturday, January 9, 2010

Berry Loving Sapsucker--Vickie Henderson

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are among my favorite birds and its only in the winter that I get to see them with any frequency. They breed in the higher elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains here in Tennessee and in mature forests much farther north up into Canada.

This beautiful male has been visiting the holly bush just outside my door, so when I hear him, I can sometimes step outside with my camera and observe without disturbing him. (The other nice advantage is, I can step back inside to get warm!)

It was only after creating these sketches in my sketchbook that I remembered that I had sketched this bird before and looked for my earlier sketches. The one shown here was my first attempt to create a journal, ten years ago, before taking a watercolor class. The difference is clear. But this effort was part of what inspired me to continue. And what I can say to anyone who feels intimidated by birds, practice will take care of it. It wasn't until last year, that I began to try to sketch in my sketchbook with any frequency, inspired by birds and the work of other artists. And I can see and feel the results. I love it and the more I do it, the more I enjoy it and want to do it.Having said that, I want to express a special thanks to Cathy Johnson for all the educational tools she has offered over the years, as well as this meeting place, where we can all find so much inspiration. Thank you, also, to all the artists of Sketching in Nature for their inspiring posts. Nature and art, and people who love both make for a very special community.

To read more of my notes on practice click the link:

And to find more fun images of this Yellow-bellied sapsucker as he feasts on berries, visit my post about him at Vickie Henderson Art.


  1. Lovely work. Very enjoyable blog. I must tell my cousin about this, she will be starting her blog soon. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you, Joan. I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. It has been a great inspiration for me.

  3. Beautiful work Vickie, hard to believe you haven't been sketching all your life! Inspirational post...

  4. Thank you, Maree. Its hard for me to believe that it took me so long to get back to this love!

  5. Beautiful, Vickie! I don't see them here in town, but we have them in the woods. I love to see where they've been at work...

    I like seeing the progression...isn't it wonderful being able to look back? (I still have a few pieces from my childhood--what a hoot!)

    And you are VERY welcome, how sweet!

  6. Wonderful sketches! I occasionally see these birds in the woods around my house, but not often.

  7. Thank you, Kate. Your enthusiasm for nature journaling and sketching have been a great boost to my motivation. Community does make a difference.

    Hi Melissa. Thank you. I do enjoy this woodpeckers visits in the winter!

  8. Vickie, then I am DELIGHTED. I get to see more of your lovely work and astute observations!

  9. Vickie, These are wonderful. Love seeing the progression. Your art is always such an inspiration to me.


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