Monday, January 9, 2012

The Magic of Sandhill Cranes--Vickie Henderson

Below you see my recent painting of a pair of sandhill cranes floating in for a landing.  It was created from observations in the field in two different locations, Tennessee and New Mexico.  Cranes fly with their legs and necks out-stretched.  When they are ready to land, they drop their legs down and hold their wings like parachutes, floating down with the wind until they touch ground.   
This is one of my favorite crane postures, one of many that made me fall in love with cranes!  And that was not a small love affair but the beginning of changes in my life that launched me into wildlife conservation projects and my love for art.  

I use the sketches I make in several ways, chiefly watercolor, gourd art and, in recent years, fun illustrations that can be used to teach youngsters about birds.  So I also arranged for this image to work double duty as the cover of my Discover Birds Activity Book, a twelve-page booklet created to help get young people excited about birds.  

It feels like magic when you see your illustration come to life with digital coloring.  Add the fact that all the pieces of the production puzzle were put together by volunteers, and you have a real labor of love.   
The activity book is sponsored by the Tennessee Ornithological Society and will be available to kids this weekend, January 14th and 15th at the Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival.  It is also one of the reasons I've been so scarce lately!  If you only knew the guilt I feel and how I miss this blog when I haven't posted regularly!

Visit Sandhill Cranes and Art at Vickie's Sketchbook and the Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival Celebrates Three Cranes at Vickie Henderson Art for more information.  


  1. How nice Vickie. I like the way your painting translated onto the printed book.

  2. good luck with your book, it sounds great.
    Personally, if you forgive my suggestion, I would have left more air around the floating cranes, to enhance the feeling of movement.

  3. Thank you, Paula.

    Concetta, I agree also. Volunteer layout design and production efforts won't always produce the best art, but I'm happy that we have a result that kids can use and enjoy.

  4. Oh, lovely! What a fun book, congrats, Vickie!

  5. Congrats, Vickie! Love that you can work on your passions. The love shows :)

  6. Lovely painting, you have really captured the Cranes.Good luck with the book.


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