Winter is also the ideal time to watch birds, with the leaves off the trees. I’m watching and sketching birds almost every day, and fortunately there is a lot to see and draw. There are quite a few different local birds at the feeders and in the garden right now – the most common ones are sparrows and great tits. I also began to study leaf shapes but quickly abandoned it without having a lot of raw material.

I started a new nature journal and as I explained in my online class, I love the idea of using the first page for small weather sketches. It’s a great technique to collect information about the seasons and get started with a new sketchbook. So far it’s been quite wintery – when I look at this unfinished page I realize I love the muted colors of this season.

Winter is a good time to take a closer look at trees and their shape, and whenever I can’t spot birds, I try to sketch the trees in the gardens that I can see from my window. They are all a bit different. I’ve also tried to study the snow that fell one day, but it melted away quickly, and I turned to Wilson Bentley’s beautiful snowflake photography instead. But I’m determined to take another look at the snow.
Different kinds of thrushes are pretty active here since they can find a lot of old apples, and I had the chance to study these beautiful birds.

For the creation of my last online workshop, I took a closer look at twigs and cones, and I managed to smuggle in a few bird sketches, too.

I tried capturing the ice formations outside and I have to say it’s pretty challenging – drawing ice crystals is time consuming and difficult on white paper.

I’m also using my nature journal for more detailed bird sketches, with little color swatches next to them. I’m still figuring out better ways to mix my watercolors, and since I have gotten new paints recently I’m happy to spend a lot of time experimenting with them. I’m particularly interested in different greys since they are useful for a lot of birds, and it seems to be the color of the season, too.
You can also see that a cat visited the garden the other day, but the blackbird and the sparrows weren’t impressed at all.

This was what kept me drawing in January. What have you been up to? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.