Red Cardinal Watercolor

Red Cardinal Watercolor.

I was away this past week on a wonderful “GFC” (Girlfriend Camp) trip, followed by a couple days of grandie girls and family fun.

This past Sunday afternoon, after over a week away from any ARTing, I found a bit of time in my art studio to paint.

I always fear when I’m away from it for a while, I will “forget” how to do it.

I decided to do a bird, then chose a cardinal.  I had some Simon & Garfunkel playing.  I felt completely relaxed, and just painted.  No drawing.  No warm-up.  And I got lucky and loved the result.

Just in case it turned out, and because I’ve been asked about sharing my process and “teaching,” I took a few quick iPhone photos of the steps I took along the way to share with you.

I found a cardinal photo on my ipad and then started with the eye placed where I thought was about right on a 10×16 sheet of Arches Cold Press.  I used Daniel Smith Indigo and Quinacridone Gold, leaving some white for the highlights in the eye.

When painting loose, you need to have a focal point, and when a bird or animal, a good focal point is the eye and/or beak/nose.  So from the eye, I used a wet brush to outline the beak, then added some Daniel Smith permanent deep red and water to blend the colors.

I deepened some of the colors and added the crown shape of the cardinals head and the shape of its neck.  This is pretty much all the “detail” I wanted in this painting.

From here, I added some more of the red and some cadmium yellow.

Then I just got super loose adding some violet and blue and green gold, lots of water for movement, and more indigo splashes.  I held the painting up vertically to let the drips run.

And this is what resulted.  I’m happy with how it turned out, and so glad to know I didn’t “forget” how to do it after being away for a while.

This painting – as an original, prints, and greeting cards – is available in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy Shop and at Berry Vine Gifts in BradfordWoods, PA.

Have a wonderful day, and don’t be afraid to fearlessly and joyfully go for whatever it is you love to do!

Cheers & Hugs,

A Bright Spot in the Storm

Red Male Cardinal - Backyard, Mars, PA - taken through glass window - January, 2018

Red Male Cardinal – Backyard, Mars, PA – taken through glass window – January, 2018

A Bright Spot in the Storm.

Need we really look
any further

than out the window
amidst a storm

when searching
for a bright spot?

Nature’s examples
teach us

there is always a bright spot
amidst a storm.

Cheers & Hugs,

Bright red male cardinals fill my backyard in the winter and seem even more vibrant when the snow is swirling and blowing and the tree branches are bare.  Such a bright spot in my day.

You’ve Got MALE

baby boy youve got male watercolor 2

A couple of sweet young families we know have recently welcomed baby boys.

It’s been a fun opportunity for me to splash around my prussian and cerulean blue watercolor paint.

baby boy youve got male watercolor

I saw this adorable sentiment used when searching for ideas, and thought it was such a cute play on words.

These are going in the MAIL today to Baby Dean and Baby Wesley’s families.  Welcome to the world little ones!

Cheers & Hugs,


Papa Cardinal in Watercolor

watercolor cardinal

I had fun painting Papa Cardinal in watercolor this week in celebration of my Three Month Watercoloriversary(How do you like that made up word?!)

It’s been three months since I first ventured into the world of watercolor and shared my very first watercolor on April 4, 2015.

I think I am making some improvements, and I KNOW I still have a long way to go, but oh what a fun journey it is.  I’ve been trying to paint at least one thing a week.

Thanks to Laura @ CreateArtEveryday for initially nudging me out of the nest and encouraging me every day to continue, and thanks to all the other great artistic bloggers and family and friends who have really encouraged and supported me.  This is something three and half months ago I wouldn’t have even ventured at.  I would have told you I could barely draw a stick figure.

papa cardinalI used this photo of Papa Cardinal at the feeder in our backyard as my pose of choice to roughly draw the shape.  I then took LOTS of artistic license in creating an artsy version of him.    Because – hey – if I wanted him to look exactly like the photo – what’s the point?  Just take the photo – right?  (or maybe that’s my excuse…)  I put him on a branch instead of the feeder, because the feeder totally detracts from his handsomeness.  And then I spiked his hair a bit too to spiff him up.

We have several cardinal families hanging out here in our backyard here in Mars.  Maybe I’ll venture to draw Momma or Baby soon.  Baby is pretty grown up and there are other new kids now too.

Oh what a bird nerd I have become!  Thanks for visiting, and happy weekend – enjoy doing things you love with those you love – at life in between!

Cheers & Hugs,