Sketching Welcome Swallows

Let me introduce you to an Australian Winter Songbird, and share with you my time in the studio sketching Welcome Swallows!

This last weekend I was inspired by a couple of little birds that I saw last Wednesday when I was walking along the street and just happened to look up and see this cute duo sitting on a ledge above a doorway, perfectly still and aligned.

Two Welcome Swallows above a doorway.

I so wished I had a better camera to be able to zoom in on them and see them more clearly and close up!  Unfortunately as I’m no bird guru, I had to find out what sort of birds they were.  All I knew was that they weren’t sparrows.  Anyway, thanks to Google and my Birds of Australia guide book I found out that they are Welcome Sparrows.

These cute little guys are native to Australia and considered winter songbirds.  They hang out in the northern parts of Australia for the winter and then migrate south for the summer.  Also, digging a little deeper (as I like to do), I found out that in the Bible the swallow is known as “the bird of freedom” and is a symbol of rebirth and new times ahead.

Getting to know these Welcome Swallows

I’m discovering that one of the best ways to get to know a subject more is to sketch it, so this past weekend was spent getting to know these cute Welcome Swallows more!

Sketching Welcome Swallows

The one on the left was done with markers, watercolour and a little gouache while the one on the right was watercolour and gelatos. Then using the watercolour sketch as my reference I decided to paint an A4 size version of it using an orange marker to draw the initial sketch and then use acrylics.

Painting of a Welcome Swallow in acrylic on A4 paper.

I’m finding that using my own sketches as a reference is such a different experience and can take away getting caught up in all the details that a photograph often gives.  It somehow gives me permission to be ‘less perfect” and not so precious about getting it right!

Have you ever used your own sketches as references?

I had fun sketching these gorgeous, sweet Welcome Swallows and getting to know them more by using a few different art mediums.  They have inspired me and made me wonder about the significance of seeing them and if there may be new times ahead.

Have you got any swallows in your part of the world?  And have you had any come across your path?

Let’s keep our eyes open for this “bird of freedom”, and if you’d like to follow my weekly updates on the ups and downs of being mostly a weekend artist, you can join me here at The Saturday Easel on Substack

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