We have had snow here in Sussex, which is actually quite rare; I think 2009 was the last proper snowfall. There has been enough for it to settle, but not in any quantity and the temperature has now dropped crystallising what is already there which looks very pretty, if a little stark.

I found a nice reference photo of a blue tit in characteristic 90º angle pose on a twig, taken by Alistair Gorton on Instagram (@gortonalistair) so used this as my bird focus. I am running low on yellow paint but dunked my brush in to the tube and eked out enough to paint both the bird and the hazel catkins.

The snow has shown up some good tracks of the birds that are feeding in the fields; I noticed a group of six or seven fieldfare pecking among the worm casts, and the ever-present black-headed gulls cruising low – dropping several times a minute to pick up a morsel from the bare earth.

I recreated these little prints by pressing white gouache on to the page with a natural sponge…I probably should have used some gooey acrylic that wouldn’t have taken on the underlying brown hue of the Kraft paper but I have a ridiculous aversion to acrylic paint so stuck with the watery option. Likewise the snow blobbed on to the branches, but I had quite a bit of titanium white on my palette so seemed sensible to use it.

I drew in the lettering and extra twiddly bits to journalise it, and shaded the background with my Gunmetal, Dark Violet, and Prussian Blue Derwent coloured pencils. I felt it was still a bit basic, so hefted the typewriter on to my desk (it’s marvellous, but certainly no MacBook Air…) and finished off the saying, and added the Latin names.

In other news, I sold my Waxwing gouache original which is wonderful but also a little sad as it was one of my favourite paintings! It’s funny how we get attached to certain artwork, but I have the scan so can continue to make stickers with the image.

2 thoughts on “Blue Tits and Hazel Catkins

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