It’s January, and as usual in southern Maryland, the winter is mild. We have temperatures above freezing and any indications of snow that appear in the weather forecast tend to evaporate before the day arrives and we get rain instead. It is the time of year when I start longing for snow, privileged as I am to have my studio in my home and I don’t have to drive to work. So, I create my own snow in my paintings.

A Flock of Cardinals, watercolor, 10” x 8”

Birch trees are fun to paint in watercolor. To do these, I painted in the sky and the background trees, making sure to use pigments that don’t stain the paper. Then I tore a piece of masking tape in half lengthwise. I stuck the tape down where I wanted the trees to be, using the torn edges to give me an irregular edge for the tree. Using a soft sponge, I lifted the background from the tree spaces. When that dried, I removed the tape and scraped in the bark texture using some paint on the edge of a little credit card. My plan was to finish by adding branches, shadows and some grasses, but the scene seemed incomplete until I added a flock of colorful cardinals.