Winter Friends

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The idea for this painting was born a few months ago, when I started thinking of a winter theme for this space. I was knee deep in fox drawings at that point, and clearly I didn’t stray from that. I really do need to move on to something else, but I just couldn’t not make a sweet fox in a fair aisle cap. It needed to be done. I’m also particularly fond of his bright little blue jay friend.

It took me so long to get started with the sketch, and then even longer to finish the painting, that I really should just save it for next winter. But, since we’re currently shivering through the “polar vortex” around these parts, with no clear end in sight, I decided I might as well put a cheerful spin on it and put my winter fox up there for a while. If you fancy a copy for yourself, prints are in the shop.

Fox and Groundhog

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I started this small painting last year when I was making up samples for my woodland animal commission project. A few months before that my kids had witnessed a fox and a groundhog fighting along the roadside, which was followed by a conversation about how they are natural enemies. I guess that must have been sitting in my mind when I decided to illustrate this unexpected friendship. Prints can be found in the shop.

It took me a while after the initial layers were down to decide how I wanted to finish this piece, so I let it sit and sit and sit (and occasionally stared at it and then walked away). It sounds silly, but I find that it’s pretty common for fear to keep me from moving forward with a painting—fear of beginning, fear of choosing the right colors, fear of making the wrong style choice and ruining the whole thing. I’ve found that it’s okay to let that feeling settle for a while, but then I have to push myself through it. Once that fear is overcome, I usually feel so triumphant that I don’t want to put the painting down until it is done.

How about you? How does fear play into your creative process, and how do you make it work for you?

Ruby King

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Have you heard of the rufous-backed kingfisher? I hadn’t until I came across a photo of it a few months ago. Living in a part of the world where the wildlife is mostly in the brown or gray range, I find it almost unbelievable that a creature can be so brilliantly colored. (It appears there is also variety within this particular species; some are more red with darker accents and some are more pink with lighter accents.)

I knew I wanted to paint this colorful little guy, and when I needed a Christmas gift for a bird lover, I had the perfect reason to do it. The original is in its new home, but prints can be found in the the shop.