Running Start

I’ve been a runner for many years. I’m not particularly good or fast or driven, but I appreciate that running keeps me fit and gets me outside year-round. It also gives me an opportunity to see what’s happening along the rural routes I frequent. I watch for birds, notice roadside wildflowers, enjoy big skies, and frequently catch a glimpse of something that becomes the inspiration for painting. Such was the case last week, when a flock of small birds flitting among a cluster of cattails caught my eye. I went back later and made a preliminary sketch from the car on a frigid afternoon. This gave me a decent running start on this piece, which I then painted at home.

30 Comments on “Running Start

  1. This is lovely. I really like the variety of tones and your approach to the masses of cattails and dried plants in the middle/background. Great atmosphere.

  2. Absolutely gorgeous! Great composition and color. The flecks of snow add so much but the bird….is the award winner for sure.

  3. Beautiful! Your paintings make me take a deep breath and reset, they are so peaceful. Thank you for sharing.

    • There was so much going on in the marsh grasses that I really had to work at simplifying it all. It’s nice to see the transparent colors on top of each other. Glad you like it.

  4. This is gorgeous. Seems like you’re using a different style – maybe less super detailed? Overall effect is lovely!

  5. I love the “rough” nature of this—your pencil lines corralling the bursting cattails, the coarse negative painting in the leaves—I can almost hear the wind scraping the rushes together. The chickadee pins it all together. Very nice!

  6. I absolutely love this! Chickadees are my favorite little year round bird. The way you captured him in the cattails is precious. I’ve made a more determined effort to catch ideas and inspiration along the roadside as you suggest. And while walking along the country roadsides is not conducive for me my loving husband will stop the car just so I can grab a pic or two. Thank you for your art.

    • I’m glad your husband is accommodating. I like getting a few lines down in the car or while walking, but even that is getting tough lately with wind chills below zero. Enjoy your painting and stay warm!

  7. Beautiful colors and mood, Jean, and that fluff is very fluffy! I don’t think I’ve ever seen chickadees eating those seeds – that’s cool!

    • Thanks– I’m not sure that they do eat the seeds, but they hang out in this area. A number of birds use the fluff for nesting material. It’s good, soft, warm stuff!

  8. Lovely post and painting. So glad to know you are also a runner. I live near a very long linear trail and find much if my inspiration there on my frequent runs. I also just painted cattails and a little bluebird I saw on the trail this week.

    • How nice, Claudia. There is a new rail trail near me and I’ve only run it once, but there’s good inspiration along it for sure. I think I’ll be spending a lot of time running and sketching on it in the coming year(s).

  9. I love this. Interesting to see a less detailed scene, and drawn in pencil instead of pen. I agree with all of the comments above. (And I’d love to know what brush you used for the background trees…..I struggle with those.)

    • Hi Melissa- I used a size 1 rigger for the trees in the background. I was pleased with the marks the rigger made for these finer limbs. I did the scrum of tan in the trees with the same brush.

  10. Wonderful painting. Love the colors, layout & the chickadee. You are an inspiration for me. Enjoy your jogs and stay well.

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