Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Robin Sketch Becomes a Painting

Thrushes are a fun family of birds.  Bluebirds, American robins and the flute-y thrushes like the hermit thrush and wood thrush, are all classified into this family.  The American robin is perhaps the most overlooked of these species because we see them so commonly.  But if you take time to watch them, you will find not only striking beauty, but delightful behaviors.
We are fortunate in Tennessee to have not only our resident robins year-around, but many robins who migrate from the north to winter in Tennessee.  The above painting was inspired by a flock of wintering robins that descended upon my dogwood trees in late fall. The memory of the experience was captured in the sketch you see below.   Creating a sketch deepens the memory with all its sensory detail and adds to the enjoyment of the experience.
I was intrigued not only with the robins and their behavior, but with the incredible beauty of the dogwood's fall colors.  A tapestry of red, maroon, purple and orange, and in their midst, the robin's red breast and contrasting dark gray plumage.  While selecting birds to include in an autumn note card series, this sketch readily came to mind.  Even though I had photographs, as well, for reference, the sketch formed the basis for the painting and was my guide throughout the painting process.

Links and resources:
More about this painting:  The Yellow Glow Behind the Robin at Vickie's Sketchbook
To see my original post on these robins:  A Party of Robins at Sketching in Nature
American Robin at Vickie Henderson Art
American Robin--Cornell's all about birds
My Autumn Birds Note Cards


  1. Vickie, a lovely painting, and a most wonderful story. Thank you!

  2. Beautiful painting AND sketch Vickie. You're so right about sketches helping us remember the experience. It just shows how connected all our senses are when we are sketching.

  3. Had to comment...I'm an environmental educator and my name is Robin. Lovely work!

  4. Beautiful, the colours look amazing.

  5. Beautiful example of a painting inspired by a sketch. We all should do more of it.

    Robins really are wonderful birds.

  6. Gorgeous painting - just love your birds and this one is super! I love Robins as well.


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