At the same time that I recognized the Cedar Waxwings, I noticed these Bohemians interspersed in the tops of the leaf-less cottonwoods. It was a cerulean blue Colorado January day and I was gliding on skinny skis through the trackless powder. It had snowed. In the crystalline air, the flock of birds gave themselves away as waxwings. These birds gathered on thin ice banks looking for berries and when I saw them, they were rising off the open water like steam from a teakettle. Memorizing and memorable, I brought home their flocking image and painted in the studio what I recalled.
I'm definitely east of the Rocky Mountains when I see cardinals. Unless it is on Mexico's Coronado Island in the Sea of Cortes where I spotted a pair nesting in a Palo Verde tree. But here in Vermont the snowy evergreens try to disguise these brilliant red heartbeats and I think my radar picks up the red vibrations before my eyes zero in and catch the color flitting through the needles. I saw these at Vermont Audubon offices near their sunny porch's bird feeders.
The snow is white, fresh and deep on the banks of Lake Champlain. The changing daylight makes for spectacular views, changing colors and silver clouds. The tiny light house blinks red at sunset for the ferry. I watch this from my window perch or walking or from the coffee shop windows. I wanted to put the weight of the crystalline air, the temperature and the heavy snow blanketing the trees in this oil, so that I can feel the melancholy pace of winter.