A nest in the west – Illo Friday Spring

For more current spring paintings from my journals … click here .

Last springtime, a finch family came looking for nesting quarters and decided that the eaves were not nearly as hospitable as one of my hanging Boston ferns. I saw the frantic search for twigs and grasses, the constant flying to and fro of the parents and before long I had a good idea that there were little ones on the way. One day when both parents were out looking for food I hurriedly took the basket down for a look (camera at the ready.) I took a picture that was the inspiration for this painting and quickly put the hanging nursery back where I found it. (There would be no drawing or painting from life for this one.) Eventually two sisters and a brother hatched, fledged, and grew to lead successful independent lives of their own. When I see finches returning in the spring I always wonder if they’re members of the same family.

Arty bits: Painted in gouache in a Moleskine sketchbook


  1. shelly mcc
    March 29, 2006

    Lovely, This is a sweet picture.

  2. Robyn
    March 29, 2006

    I have never used gouache. Can you give me some clues about how to use it and how it behaves, please?

    Love your painting. Looks like it came out of one of those lovely English country books.

  3. endment
    March 29, 2006

    Delightfull illustration!

  4. Jean Mikulla
    March 29, 2006

    This is such a beautiful painting. It reminds me of those Hallmark cards done by artist Marjolein Bastin, except yours is nicer. Jean

  5. Hanna
    March 29, 2006

    Love this picture, so serene and beautful!

  6. Deb
    March 29, 2006

    This is beautiful. Your calligraphy is awesome too.

  7. Lin
    March 29, 2006

    LOVELY, Karen — and so reminds me of the German (?) watercolorist – Bastein or something like that!! I LOVE her work — and YOURS!

  8. hfm
    March 29, 2006

    So tender.

  9. Ulla
    March 29, 2006

    Somehow just discovered your blog, this is wonderful. Thank you.

  10. Sioux
    March 29, 2006

    Oh, Karen, this is truly lovely. Love the words you put with it, as well. Your work is stunning.

  11. melissa w
    March 29, 2006

    This is a really sweet illustration. It has such warmth.

  12. chompo blogger
    March 29, 2006

    Hi Karen,

    That is a delightful nest and composition. Just yesterday I saw a cupcake decorated with a similar nest of cocoa dusted coconut shreds and sweet blue dollops of frosting.

    Enjoying your other watercolor studies, too!

  13. clare
    March 29, 2006

    Karen I have had such a great time wandering around your blog this morning. I hope you don’t mind if I blame you for my lack of
    housework and very late dinners!!!???

  14. alison
    March 29, 2006

    A very pleasing drawing and I love the caption. Alison in Canberra

  15. TeriC
    March 31, 2006

    Karen, It’s perfect for spring and personal enjoyment!

  16. Willie
    March 31, 2006

    Great idea! :-)

  17. gudbrandsdottir
    April 1, 2006

    Just a perfect take on the topic!
    Great work!

  18. carla
    April 1, 2006

    Most certainly a depiction of ne of the nicest rites of spring! I love the rendering of the nest…I feel as if I could touch each piece of straw and twig!

  19. Pati @-;--
    April 1, 2006

    Awwww! love this. Congrats to the Finch family 😉

  20. georg
    April 2, 2006

    Maybee it’s really family – many birds return to the same place as last year, fantastic thet they can find the way! And wonderful to hear that spring’s just in the neighbourhood now. Lovely nest, great idea.

  21. tammy hanna
    April 2, 2006

    Love the colour of the eggs, perfect.

  22. Aravis
    April 3, 2006

    The way you’ve so realistically captured the nest and eggs is stunning. :0)

  23. Felicity
    April 20, 2006

    Lovely! I’ve just seen this on the Drawing Club (how did I miss it the first time?) I always wonder if the birds returning are of the same family too.

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