Saturday, December 25, 2010

Mr. Cardinal and His Gal Pal

This is the time of year when Michigan turns gray and ugly. Upper Michigan has many more evergreen trees than down here in the southern part. We see mostly leafless, lifeless branches and trunks. The birds that hang around during the cold months appear the same bland color.

One tree in our backyard, though, has a profusion of orange berries that stand out brightly against the gray skies. I took a picture of it two years ago after it had been coated with ice. It is quite beautiful in its winter coat.

     I find this tree especially wonderful, though, not just because of the shot of color it brings to the dull yard, but because it attracts my favorite birds - cardinals. Last year there were six red cardinals all feasting on the berries at the same time. Actually, three of the birds were only spotted with red in certain areas of their feathers, because they were females. The male cardinals practically glowed in all of their crimson glory in contrast. There hasn't been any ice on tree yet this year, but just today a male cardinal and his lady friend became the first birds to visit the tree.

I found the cardinals so beautiful and welcome during the winter months, that I got my pencil and paper out and drew one. I scanned my drawing into my computer and then added a background digitally. I also painted the cardinal his brilliant red using Photoshop. The picture below is the one I ended up with. I have it framed sitting on my computer desk for those times when I want a good shot of color to help me survive the winter.


  1. Bill this is beautiful! You did an amazing job drawing this. And the background is really cool too. (At first it reminded me of Van Gogh.) I love cardinals too, and I miss seeing them. They were one of my dad's favorite birds, so they remind me of him. He used to have a bird feeder where they all loved to visit often.

  2. What an artist you are! The cardinal is beautiful! I have never seen one. Such a lovely splash of colour on a grey day. The whole picture is awesome, I love the background. Hugs xx

  3. The tree is beautiful. I love when the cardinals come to visit. Such a bright spot in the long winter.

    Your drawing is great - so cheery! It reminds me of a painting that my great aunt Mary did when she took up painting in her 80s. It hangs in my mother's kitchen.