Friday, January 30, 2015


I'm still working on the January challenge on the Artist's Journal Workshop page on Facebook. The subject for day 28 was flags and my mind immediately thought of the floral variety, far more interesting than the other sort.  I had to copy the picture from my field guide as they are a long way off from blooming but at least they give us a splash of spring colour in the depths of winter!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Winter Sketching

Winter is a great time to watch birds and see species that we don't otherwise get to see. I've had several irruptive species at my feeders lately. Pine Siskins and Purple Finches are known as irruptive species because they only periodically migrate south when the food they need is unavailable in northern climates.  
We had a dusting of snow last Friday with temperatures 34 F degrees.  There is something welcoming about snow that pulls me outside to watch birds when the temperature is tolerable.  They seem to be less shy and come closer.  
While I was trying to sketch Pine Siskins, I heard chipping under the hemlock and turned my binoculars in that direction.  This beautiful Hermit Thrush was cocking his tail and wing twittering while chipping in the shadows.

For more about this sketching experience visit Winter Sketching at Vickie's Sketchbook.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


I've been taking part in the January challenge over at AJW and here is one of my interpretations of the subject for day 16.  This is a view I see almost every day through my kitchen window.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Polar Bears on the Hudson Bay

When to Use Your Camera:
When there's no time to sketch.  
When the subject is moving so fast that you need to freeze the action  
For intricate features, lighting or details
                      abrieviated from David Rankin's book, Fast Sketching Techniques

In David's book, he includes a few more reasons but I think the above are the ones I relate to the most.  I would add, "when you want to see more than your eye or your binoculars can reveal".
To my naked eye, and even through my binoculars, this beautiful female Polar Bear appeared to be simply walking, wandering through the tundra vegetation sniffing.  To my surprise, when I viewed an image taken with my 400 mm lens and zoomed in to take an even closer look, she was actually pulling and chewing grass. This has become one of my favorite memories for its serenity in contrast to her primary lifestyle of hunting seals on sea ice.
Polar Bears live in a harsh environment.  Females fast during the summer and fall months while they are denning and nursing their cubs.  They live on the layer of blubber that they have stored beneath their dark skin.  The blubber both insulates them from the cold and provides nutrition during months when there is no sea ice.  It also provides the fat-rich milk that nourishes their cubs.
Polar Bears are marine mammals and carnivores, at home in the water as much as on land. They rely heavily on the sea ice ecosystem that nourishes ringed seals which, in turn, provide the nutrition and blubber that Polar Bears require to survive.  Sea ice is vital to bear hunting, resting, warmth and breeding.

For more sketches and information visit Polar Bears on the Hudson Bay at Vickie's Sketchbook.
To learn about my journey to Churchill, visit Journey to Churchill at Vickie Henderson Art.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Caribou Sketch

One hour sketch at the American Museum of Natural History
watercolor 12 pan set W&N on moleskine sketchbook

Rangifer tarandus

Sandy Williams - New Year's Day sketch

I'm a little late in posting my first sketch of the year.  I sat outside in the same spot that I have for the past four years and sketched the same little landscape.  There wasn't a bit of snow but it was bitterly cold and I went inside to finish the drawing with a Pitt pen and Derwent Watercolor pencils.  Since that day we've had plenty of the white stuff falling down, along with falling temperatures.  I'm already counting the days until March 1st, my unofficial end of winter celebration day.

Just out in the garden- Concetta Flore

New Talens watercolors and The Langton paper- not bad.
Very mild here in Rome (Italy), but the forecast are for much colder weather from monday.
We will have more birds at the feeder.
A very happy and colorful 2015 to all!