100 Days of Birds: Done!

I painted the first bird of this challenge on April 4th, which seems like an eternity ago. I painted the 100th bird yesterday, August 9th. Yes, it took me more than 100 days to do my 100 birds, but I’m ok with that. I’m happy that I actually painted 100 birds! With anything that you come back to over and over again, there is just bound to be change and growth and it has been a journey with these 100 birds.

No. 95: American Dipper

No. 95: American Dipper, gouache on paper, 6×6 inches, available in the shop

What I loved doing the most with my gouache bird paintings was the backgrounds. The birds strangely enough never took me very long…but the backgrounds did. Abstraction is challenging. I did a lot of meandering with my backgrounds. Which with gouache is an easy thing to do. It is such a forgiving medium.

No. 96: Hermit Thrush - Blessed Hope

No. 96: Hermit Thrush- Blessed Hope, gouache on paper, 6×6 inches, available in the shop

All the birds I painted, with the exception of the penguin, is a North American bird. It was a way for me to learn more about the birds in this vast continent that I find myself in. I often painted birds that crossed my path, but when I’d run out of ideas of birds to paint, I would look to poetry. The Hermit Thrush above was inspired by The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy.

No 97: Dark-eyed Junco

No. 97: Dark-Eyed Junco, gouache on paper, 6×6 inches, available in shop

Summer time is a challenging time to get blocks of uninterrupted time in the studio and so this project was actually perfect for summer. Working in encaustic not only requires a whole studio set up, but also a big chunk of time. Being able to just pull out a little palette, my gouache tubes, 2-3 brushes, and water and a pad of watercolor paper made this so easy and do-able. I often did my birds at night after the kids went to bed.

No. 87: Cardinal In the Green

No. 87/100: Cardinal In the Green, gouache on paper, 6×6 inches, available in the shop

I have been dealing with some health issues this summer as well and my birds helped me to take everything day by day. When I would be in extreme discomfort due to an allergic reaction to a medication that was supposed to help but just made everything worse, I painted my birds. These little birds helped me focus, helped raise my spirits, helped me learn to trust the wandering. Healing birds.

No. 100: Flight of the Great Blue Heron

No. 100/100: Flight of the Great Blue Heron, gouache on paper, 6×6 inches, available in shop

All the birds can be seen in the Paintings: 100 Birds section.

I framed and matted these two birds for a collector. Here they are in their new home. Makes me happy to know my birds are finding new homes.

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