Double Happy

“Double Happy” 18 x 17 cm. December 2022

I spend hours trying to get source photos for drawings. Wandering, standing, sitting, striding out and exhausting myself while looking for something inspirational and eye-catching. In November I spent a couple of days staring into garden beds at The Berry Farm in Margaret River observing birds and trying to get inspired photos of them.

The flowers at The Berry Farm are magnificent yet I find it difficult to photograph birds among them. Those poky birds are more likely to be perched on café furniture, hopping on concrete paths or playing hide and seek in leafy trees.

However patience paid dividends. I got a couple of beauties. I call this drawing “Double Happy” because the bird (a New Holland honeyeater) and flowers remind me of a burst of fireworks. (‘Double Happy‘ was the brand name of fire crackers we used to let off on Guy Fawkes night, 5th November, when I was a child.) Double happy describes my state of bliss at capturing both bird and flowers together!

Here are some more drawings I have done over the past 15 months from The Berry Farm visits…

“This Little Bird” September 2021.
“Honey Pie” 16 x 19.5 cm. November 2021
“Welcome to the Water Dish” November 2021
“Girl Power” December 2021

They’re all on human furniture aren’t they!? You can see why I am double happy to finally be able to draw a bird in Berry Farm’s luscious flowers.

18 thoughts on “Double Happy

  1. Cailleache

    Beautiful work. there’s something particularly satisfying about bird and flower together – both living, both dynamic, in relationship, that isn’t there when it’s bird and human object. Although, of course, there’s still a relationship between the bird and what it sits on ! Anyway, I love it.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Sue, I’m sure I’d do more birds-in-flowers drawings if I could. The truth is the most difficult part of my process isn’t in the drawing, but in the getting of the source photo. I’ve made this rod for my back because I don’t work from my imagination like many artists do.

      1. teresam61

        WoW…… so talented! I tried colored pencil a few times… takes a lot of time and skill to do what you do! Thanks for responding 😊

  2. Robyn Varpins

    This beauty is very much like fireworks. Spectacular. A real portrait of “Birdy” (she is staring at us), and a Joyful rendition of flowers.

  3. anna warren portfolio

    Double happy indeed! What a great combination, and such a riot of colour. Definitely worth the waiting and stalking! I love the way you have treated the flowers, they have a softness along with the vibrance of colour, they don’t overwhelm the bird, bird and flowers complement one another. It’s great to see the set of birds like this, they definitely make a body of work. Being small too encapsulates them.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Good morning Anna! I didn’t mention Covid in my post, but as you know I had it…and still had it when I started this drawing. I worked with all the enthusiasm of a prisoner dragging a ball and chain. Absolutely dead to it to begin with. It took quite a while before I started to feel a connection with the drawing … like… seeing in the far distance a touch of potential. But eventually I got into it (as I started to feel better after I last wrote to you) – in the end it was enjoyable.
      The yellow flowers behind don’t overwhelm because I ‘glazed’ them (would have been glazing if it was paint but in this case a light layer of pencil) with mauve to de-intensify the yellow.

  4. xanderest

    Oh Julie , these drawings are so lovely ! It must make you double happy that they turn out so well , what a wonderful collection you have done .

    Love , Judy .


    Julie, As usual your birds are outstanding!!! I do Love 💕 Double Happy the best, being able to see the gorgeous flowers, in one of my favorite colors, along with the mostly black and white bird, with yellows and a tiny bit of lime green in the background, stunning!!!! The others are so nice too, a little more stark, as in their backgrounds, I like them too, but Double Happy, touches my heart.

    Yesterday I took a class with Barbara Dahlstadt, we used Inktense pencils, scribbled a full area of each color, then took color with a small brush and used it as watercolor on sanded paper. When it was dry we went to a different area, so as not to work wet next to wet. Then we used Prismacolorst to do the details. Always fun to learn something new!

    We are doing ok. I have been really down, my son’s partner in his garage door co, got Covid. Thy had worked together all day Monday, then Tuesday my Bill had to go get some parts out of his partner’s truck. His partner, Billy was really sick and his girlfriend was sick with Covid too. My Bill called us on Tuesday and said we couldn’t spend thanksgiving together, they brought all the cooked food to us, didn’t come in the house, so no hugs and kisses. I was so down after he called, I didn’t do anything, just sort of napped. The food was delicious, but not the same without the kids. I still feel kind of down, but I’ll get over it!

    Your paintings always cheer me up!! ‘Share the Joy,’ Hugs, Joanne

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hello Joanne, it is hard not to get depressed during these uncertain times. Three weeks ago I got Covid for the first time. I didn’t get very sick at all and yet it still took me two weeks to recover and in that time I was down in the dumps. I knew that feeling would pass eventually. I empathize with you. And I am glad that my pictures are able to give you some cheer.
      Goodness, that method of Barbara’s sounds interesting!


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