Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Western Tanager

Western Tanager
8"x8" oil on Raymar panel $200. SOLD

Artist Note
Isn't nature a marvel? 
The different colors in the avian world
always surprise and delight me...
and I do not live in a tropical place.
This is from a trip to beautiful
Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
Less than a two hour drive from Las Cruces 
and up to an elevation of 9,000ft.

My technique causes a quandary
when  I paint something with 
important details like a bird. 
In my former life as an illustrator
it would be easy to paint every feather,
but I do not want to paint like that anymore
(- in fact it is now impossible.)
So getting the impression 
of a bird in its natural habitat 
requires "suggested" imagery.
Something which I find harder 
but more engrossing to capture.

This from a photo my hostess took.
The nest was not in it...
just a personal love I have for the nests.


  1. Wonderful subject, Julie. Once in a rare while they show up here, well off course obviously, but their appearance causes great excitement in the birding community.

    1. I know I get excited seeing them every time. So exotic for the eye next to the forests that surround them. Thank you for the amazing post of the damage that plastic does. And I really enjoyed the Tuesday Ramble. My reply may have been too much of a

  2. very pretty :) we do get yellow birds up here so I guess we do see some colour once and awhile

    1. Hi Jennifer - you used to have the Yellowhammer. Do you still? I think that is what it was called. Pretty.
      Like your colored pencil work. You can do it all!

    2. we are supposed to have them around here, but I've never seen one :(

  3. I've seen these little birds - and yes!! they are magnificent!!! wow!!! I love this style of painting - the "just enough detail...without making a scientific study of it" sort of thing!! Coming from a science background, I appreciate the more 'painterly look' too!! :-)

    1. I do appreciate such a great comment. It means so much Roxanne because it is difficult for me to pull off.
      Your sketchbook is amazing and I was thrilled to see it. You made the Pech Merle Cave work come alive. The story about the small women's hands was an excellent observation.

  4. Julie I have been catching up on all your previous posts. I adore your birds. This lovely Tanager is just gorgeous. So nice to see that you are painting birds. Hope you are staying cool. Hugs!

    1. Hello dearest Debbie, how good to see you have stuck to it and taken July off from posting. I do miss those Monday Morning inspiration posts though.
      Staying cool. Studio has a noisy but effective cooler. I am grateful.

  5. Really nice painting - beautiful little bird!

  6. You can't just make up those colors nature throws at us. This is a real gem.

  7. What a beauty! I am often shocked and amazed by birds that flaunt their vibrant colors such as this tanager. What a gift it is when one encounters such a display. This is such a precious beauty!

  8. WOW! This is absolutely beautiful and another favorite, Julie. The colors are so vibrant and I love the blue eggs.

  9. Beautiful! I love the vibrant colors of the bird and how you have included them in the background.


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