Solstice Birds - Kathryn Delany

Made with Joy

I just painted these little fluffy birds. They are inspired by the winter solstice which was yesterday December 21. To celebrate the year’s shortest day, I read that people were gathered at Stonehenge to celebrate.

So I needed to join them in spirit at the very least. So now the sun and earth are at an extreme tilt, with the sun at its lowest spot for the northern hemisphere. On one side it is dark. On the other side light. There is light ahead of us, with longer days, warming earth, getting her ready for spring.

I wanted to create these little mixed media birds to celebrate the fact that from now on the days will become steadily longer. They make me smile.

My start

I actually started to create this set last week, with the intent of making them monochromatic along with encaustic. In fact, the bird feathers were the only part of a bird involved when I started. So to say that this was an intuitive session is understatement.

small blank 3 x 5 canvases

I had 4 small canvases ( 4″ x 5″), small, that have been hanging around for a long time. I cut up columns of text from the local paper and decoupaged/collaged them onto the canvases.

I gave them a dark brown ‘tea’ stain with raw umber. Where I had failed to put matte medium on top of the newspaper, the paper became super absorbent, you can see how dark the stain became in those areas. Where I did apply matte medium over the top of the newspaper in my process, it created a seal, allowing the stain to do its work in the correct manner.

3 x 5 canvases with mixed media collage

With all the paper and medium collaged on the shapes of the canvases have warped a bit. But I think that a gives them a lovely character. My next intent was to add feathers, gold leaf and ribbons and then do an encaustic wax finish.

Well I think the solstice celebrations got to me!

Happy vibrations

Going through my small feather collection, I laid the feathers out in a way I liked on top of each canvas. Looking at the compositions, the backgrounds were actually quite dark and the feathers did not stand up to that. The next thought was that a small bird shape clutching the feather in its claws would be perfect.

This led to my going through all my paper collections. I discovered happy paper! I had torn up one of my digital paintings that I had printed a while back, and whose colors I was not happy with.

Then I needed some bird shapes. I downloaded from here, cut them out, and then cut my happy paper into the shapes.

This made them all mine! My feet were starting to tap, the music was blues. What can I tell you.

With the colorful bird shapes now firmly in my head, they started chirping at me. I needed to pull all the backgrounds toward a cohesive look. I used white, black teal, beach glass colors and went to town. I also used black ink initially to draw my bird shapes. Lots of water and drippy drips, some shiny metallic paint. What wonderful backgrounds evolved. More dancing.

Time for some fun. I laid my lovely bird shapes over those gorgeous backgrounds. Ooops! Talk about color and shapes competing for attention!

The watercolor paper was quite thick, so once I had glued these on, I was really getting some good texture. Then I went to work to calm the backgrounds down and make my little birds shine.

Bird Fables

Here are my 4 celebratory Solstice Birds for your enjoyment.

Each one has a little bauble of some sort as a gift for you.

Solstice Lovebird

Lovebird Blue, found this little treasure, a string of shiny gems just for you. They are his way of saying thank you for hanging out with him through all those gray, rainy days. They are a gift to brighten up your winter with the promise of the warmth of spring and summer and long hazy days. You can feel him sitting on your shoulder dangling his little gift in your face. Happy Solstice from the Lovebird.

Solstice Lovebird

Solstice Robin

This little lady is all fluffed up and looks a bit confused as to what exactly her gift is. Is it a necklace? Is it a lovely ring at the end of a broken chain. All the same she thinks they make a fine trinket for lucky you. She traveled a long way to find this little treasure, and now is almost home, so the long round trip has made her a bit punchy. From her to you, a trinket to see you through winter.

Solstice Robin

Solstice Magpie Maggie

Maggie the Magpie is social as you know. Like many women she loves the shiny things in life. You really have to be careful, as she could pluck that rhinestone button right off your sweater if you are not on your toes. Today she has found the perfect pearl for the two of you. She will be its keeper for you and stash it in her next along with all the other gifts she has found. She spotted it on the beach where a careless oyster had coughed it up. Luckily she spied it before the tide returned it to the oysters bed. Now it belongs to you both.

Solstice Wren Wilma

Wilma (on the right) is a shy little thing. She doesn’t make friends very easily so has to be gently coaxed into things. She is carrying some thread she found caught up in a green bushy plant starting with ‘m’. It was right outside the new weed store called Grasshopper! Being of the female persuasion, this thread was no ordinary thread, it has some silver glittery stuff in it. A perfect addition to her nest. Something to help the two of you through the long winter days ahead.

  • Solstice Magpie Margie
  • Solstice Wren Wilma

Let me know in the comments below which you like best.

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