I’ve been walking nearly every day lately. Typically, it’s the same two to three miles of country roads, past scattered houses, young woods, and farm fields with sweeping views. The sameness of the route makes it easy to spot unusual things. This week, I was treated to a small flock of snow buntings foraging in the stubble of a corn field at the edge of the road. I love seeing these birds of the high artic and consider myself lucky when I do. Although they are not rare, they aren’t around every year and they seem to range widely—here one day and gone the next. I’m glad to keep this one in my journal.

Tips and Techniques– It was too cold to sketch outside, so I made pencil sketches from video to help me warm up and get to know these birds better. You might try sketching birds at a feeder or from video to loosen up before tackling a more finished piece in watercolor.

Progress Report– I’m happy to share that I’ve just posted a workshop series, Painting the Colors of Spring, which begins March 23. My wrist continues to make progress, though I still need to work on range of motion and strength. My paperwhite bulbs, on the other hand (see Progress Unfolding post on 1/16), have not grown at all and I finally pitched them in the compost. So much for my lovely idea of blooms and bones.

24 Comments on “Walking

  1. Excellent progress with your wrist, Jean. I’m so glad to hear every day is better. So sad about the paper white bulbs tho. Maybe there’s hope yet? Maybe a spark of life will pop out of your compost? Love your preliminary sketching of snow buntings. I often sketch from videos, more than I do outside. I’m hoping to shake away my intimidation this year. Your finished watercolor painting of the bunting is magnificent. He looks so regal in that pose. The watercolor is so gorgeous. Glad to hear from you.

    • Thanks Barb. Progress is always good. So is patience, which can be trickier. Glad you like the snow bunting sketches and painting. I was really pleased with the way they turned out– minimal fuss.

  2. I looked up your daily bread post. Can I use gouache instead of my oils to paint on canvas?

    • HI Kathy- I’m not sure because I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see why not. I think gouache works on a variety of surfaces. You might try posing that question in a Google search and see what you get.

      • Thank you! I haven’t tried gouache, but I’m so intrigued by it, I am a self-taught watercolorist & I want to try a large canvas. I work in my journal daily. Your watercolors are great & I’ve learned so much from you.

      • Thanks Kathy– Good luck with the large canvas. I occasionally try working larger and find that it requires a lot more paint and a different way of working. I haven’t tried working large in gouache as I’m still learning how it works. Enjoy the process!

  3. Glad you are doing so well, I’m impressed with your walking schedule! Cold back there now br-r-r. Sorry about your bulbs, that’s disappointing. I was so glad to see my crocus flowers coming up so I cleared some of the weeds around them and I came back later in the day to show my husband and they were gone – the squirrels again! Cute but a pest! Looking forward to upcoming classes!

    • There have been some very cold miles— I skipped yesterday when it was -26F with the wind chill. Back out today. I’ll look forward to seeing you in the spring class! Thanks for your support!

  4. So pretty! And glad you are on the mend. I would love to learn to sketch and then watercolour just don’t know when.. : )

  5. Oh Jean, this post made me so happy! You have recovered quickly, and I know it’s because of your determination and commitment to getting better! I’ve signed up for your Spring series already, and am really looking forward to it. Praying your healing continues to go well! All that walking is bound to be improving your mind, body and spirit.

    • Hi Elaine- How nice to hear from you! All that walking is definitely part of my overall therapy plan, and I’m glad to be able to paint with greater ease. Thanks for signing up for the Spring series. I’ve had fun developing the class while recuperating.

  6. The bulbs are really disappointing (I’m nursing an amaryllis to see if it will bloom again but just leaves so far) but the Snow buntings, that’s cool! I don’t think I ever got to see them. And the walking, very good! lad the wrist is healing well. 🙂

  7. I have seen snow buntings in ages here. Beautiful depiction. Glad to see you’re on the mend of course. It’s good to have you back

    • I suspect they would be easy to miss. If you’re not out on the right day or at the right time, you just might not catch them. They are not reliably here at all. I hope I have a second sighting. Thanks for your note.

  8. Hi, Jean. What a beautiful snow bunting—and a lucky sighting! I’ve never seen one. I’m so glad you’re making progress with your wrist. I signed up for your spring workshop series and can’t wait to sketch and paint the birds especially.

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