3 Red Cardinal Watercolor Paintings & Fun Bright Greeting Card Pre-Order

Since winter is rolling around, I feel like it is a far more appropriate time to post this mini series of cardinal paintings I made earlier this year. I have these 3 delicate red cardinal watercolor paintings to offer! I really enjoyed using this technique and painting snow again. The lightness of these paintings feels great on the eyes.

red cardinals watercolor painting by karolina szablewska
9″x12″ watercolor painting of red cardinals. Ink, watercolor, and acrylgauche on watercolor rag. 1 of 3 in series. ~2021

When I recovered from COVID enough to do anything, the first thing I wanted to do was paint after weeks in bed and I discovered this fun technique in the process since I didn’t want to think too hard about what to do. What would happen if I put down a blot of paint and painted a subject out of that? Start a painting backwards. The end result was a pleasant surprise. I painted this robin out of a blooming orange blot. It sold before I was done, which was also a wonderful surprise.

3 red robin watercolor painting by Karolina Szablewska
11″x12″ mixed media on Fabriano watercolor paper. Watercolor painting with ink & acrylic lineart. ~2020. SOLD. Prints if you’re interested.

So this spring when I still felt unusually fatigued and unmotivated, I employed the same technique to get into some form of creative flow. Let’s try make cardinals out of a red blot. I started with 2 smaller watercolor paintings as studies, and then created the larger, more complex composition below. I did the studies because I needed to work out how the various textures and details would emerge out of the blot, especially with snow and lighter lines to work with.

The benefit of working at this smaller size, and why I do so many smaller watercolors instead of full sheets, is because the size shows off the beauty of the paint texture. I’m realizing more and more the texture of the artwork is one of the most important elements in my art.

red cardinals watercolor painting by karolina szablewska
9″x12″ watercolor painting of red cardinals. Ink, watercolor, and acrylgauche on watercolor rag. 2 of 3 in series. ~2021

Since these are perfect for the holiday seasons and I’ve been asked to make more holiday greeting cards, I will make a set with these 3 paintings and I will be taking pre-orders. This way, I know exactly how many to print, have them shipped to you before you need them for the holidays. If you’d like to pre-order a set of these red cardinal cards, select how many you’d like. Like any of my previous cards, they will be printed with a clean, simple design, space to write your own message, and my info on the back on glossy stock. I still have some of the Christmas tree cards left if you haven’t used those before. I’m going to be printing these starting Nov 8, so get your order in!

There were many cardinals around Montreal this year, perhaps because of the lack of activity downtown due to the pandemic. I saw them all the way from November to May. It was spring with green trees and open flowers, and there were still plenty of cardinals in sight. I’ve seen both female and male cardinals, now that I’m better at spotting the female ones. The red cardinals are all male and they develop this plumage to impress the ladies every year. Sometimes, they are more of an orange or golden yellow as well. Sometimes the female sprout a few red feathers too.

This painting was a joy because of the cascading waterfall effect of placing so many similar birds on the same bush. The scene I imaged with a cacophony of red cardinals fighting over the dried winter berries on a single bush in between two spruce.

The blue bird at the bottom is a blue grosbeak, a species closely related to the cardinal and quite similar in appearance. These birds can be found in the Northern climate just like cardinals, although I’ve never seen one personally. I was surprised they come in blue! I really enjoy learning something new in the process of researching for a painting, and definitely adding the blue grosbeak added some intrigue to this painting.

Red and Blue Grosbeaks Cardinals watercolor painting by karolina szablewska
15″x22″ watercolor painting with ink and acrylgouache. Red cardinals and one blue grosbeak sitting on snowy spruce painted from an assortment of references. ~2021

Prints and original art of these are available as usual. Hope you enjoyed this winter themed art since I am really enjoying getting into this theme. 🙂 I’ve changed my set up so free shipping is offered to Canadians for prints! Keep in mind that art commissions are also open for the Christmas season. Please check out my new art commission page for more info and feel free to email any questions.

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1 thought on “3 Red Cardinal Watercolor Paintings & Fun Bright Greeting Card Pre-Order”

  1. I fully recommend the Greeting Cards, a perfect gift to send a loved one for the winter holidays. The cards are made out of thick, high quality paper and the art is bright and colourful. The Cardinals on Snow make for a great winter motif and the birds really pop on the card.

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