Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Day

"And the little sparrow came from his nest among the shavings
 and shook his wings to the light."

The Worker in Sandalwood, Marjorie Pickthall

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Twenty-fourth day of Advent: O Holy Night

Twenty-fourth day of Advent
Twas in the moon of wintertime 
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wandering hunters heard the hymn:
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria"
The Huron Carol

Monday, December 22, 2014

Twenty-third day of Advent - English Robin

Twenty-third day of Advent
Finally, an English Robin.  This one has come from the "Sleepyhead Feast", a party for the hibernating creatures, described in The Illustrated Fairy Gazette.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Twenty-first day of Advent - A Dove for the Christmas Tree

Twenty-first day of Advent

This is another ornament from Grandmother's Tree.  Our tree is fully decorated now, laden from top to bottom with old favorites and some      glossy newcomers.
"The tree is, as it is every year, more beautiful than they remembered"

Friday, December 19, 2014

Twentieth day of Advent - Flight of Fancy

Twentieth day of Advent
One small bird from The Illustrated Fairy Gazettes.
"This is the season of Goodness, Beauty and Truth, both  in the Peaceful Realms and in the mortal world."
The Illustrated Fairy Gazette, A Christmas Celebration

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Nineteenth day of Advent - Toronto Blue Jay

Nineteenth day of Advent
In the bleak mid-winter, a bird of summer.  
This is Toronto, so here is a Blue Jay.

Eighteenth day of Advent - Blue Tit with Waistcoat

Eighteenth day of Advent
"I was always a lover of soft-winged things"
Victor Hugo

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Seventeenth day of Advent - Ruffed Grouse

Seventeenth Day of Advent
One last bird from Woodland Christmas, the Ruffed Grouse with a stylish Elizabethan ruff for her elegant neck.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sixteenth day of Advent - Little Sparrow, Big Tree

Sixteenth day of Advent
A wee detail from a much bigger picture of a holly, jolly Christmas.
(Almost finished decorating the tree here. I keep finding more decorations).

Fifteenth day of Advent - Blue Tit

Fifteenth day of Advent
"Come, on wings of joy we'll fly"  William Blake

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Fourteenth day of Advent - Doves

Fourteenth day of Advent
Another close-up from Woodland Christmas, two turtle-doves
sharing winter berries. 
"You are like the wings of a dove covered with silver, 
And its pinions with glistening gold"  Psalms 63.13

Friday, December 12, 2014

Thirteenth day of Advent - A Jolly Postman

Thirteenth day of Advent
"Deep within the winter forest among the snowdrift wide
You can find a magic place where all the fairies hide" Anon

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Twelfth day of Advent - Cedar Waxwing

Twelfth day of Advent
"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth."  Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Eleventh day of Advent - Sir Francis Drake

Eleventh day of Advent
Portrait of a certain famous explorer.
(Common name, Mallard)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tenth day of Advent - Ornaments

Tenth day of Advent

Tonight we put up the Christmas tree and brought out the boxes of decorations, waking them from their year-long slumber.  For the tenth day of Advent here is a tiny detail from  "Grandmothers Tree", a story about just such an evening.

Ninth day of Advent - Blue Jay

Ninth day of Advent
"The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings."
J.M. Barrie, "The Little White Bird"

Monday, December 8, 2014

Eighth day of Advent - Swans

Eighth day of Advent
Swans-a-swimming belong to the seventh day of Christmas, but these ones are flying and landing. With their crowns they could be the princely swan brothers of fairy tales. Grimms' version of The Wild Swans has six brothers and in Hans Anderson's there are eleven. There are seven in my original illustration for Woodland Christmas and I have added one more here to fit the Eighth day theme. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Seventh day of Advent: Christmas Cardinal

Seventh day of Advent
For Sunday and the seventh day, here is a familiar and warmly-dressed winter bird who is also somewhat reminiscent of this fellow:

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sixth Day of Advent: Geese-A-Laying

Sixth day of Advent
For Woodland Christmas I gave  6 motherly geese and their goslings sails in their nests, to catch the wind and ferry them over the waters.

Fifth day of Advent - Five Gold Rings

Fifth day of Advent
Another detail, this time from Woodland Nutcracker.  "Creating a world" is the aspect of book illustration that artists love, making up convincing background details such as books on a bookshelf, a wreath on the door.  This is a Christmas wreath for the Bears' cottage (plus five gold rings for the Fifth day of Advent).

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Fourth day of Advent - Four Calling Birds

Fourth day of Advent
Loons singing their lovely song to the night sky are the Four Calling Birds, another illustration from Woodland Christmas.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Third Day of Advent - Robin Redbreast

Third day of Advent
A detail from a larger Christmas painting, this little robin defies conventional wisdom that North American robins always fly south for the winter. Here is a page about robins that stay. I like the description of their song as "chip chip cheerio, jam on toast!"

Monday, December 1, 2014

Second day of Advent - A Partridge and a Pear Tree

Second day of Advent
A Partridge Postman with a spray of pear blossom for someone's True Love - from Woodland Christmas (Scholastic, 1995).

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Advent Begins

First day of Advent
Advent already? Impossible!  And yet here we are at December 1, ready or not. "Carols of gladness ring from every tree"  (Frances Anne Kemble)  
This year's Advent tree is full of birds.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Autumn Gold

Back to the drawing board for an artist means catching up on advances in digital imaging, even if one would rather stay focused on traditional brush and paint work. So many things are possible now that once looked like magic, or at least  the sole proprietorship of boffins and computer geeks. So I am back to school in a way, online and learning new things that first confound and then delight.
In addition to my illustration work I teach classes in watercolour painting. The picture above is modified from one of my recent lessons - with borrowed leaves from another lesson!

"October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came,-
The Ashes, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The sunshine spread a carpet,
And every thing was grand;
Miss Weather led the dancing;
Professor Wind, the band...
The sight was like a rainbow
New-fallen from the sky..."
 -George Cooper, "October's Party"

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Inspired by Daffodils

Inspired by daffodils, I am at work in my new studio....

...with able assistance.