Sandhill Cranes Yakking It Up

This bird painting of nine distinctive Sandhill Cranes was inspired by a pair of these my cousin Karen and I spotted in the Orlando airport cell phone lot in January when we arrived early for my flight home.


‘Sandhill Cranes Yakking It Up’ – $275

Karen and I were sitting in the parking lot, enjoying one more hour of brainstorming ideas for oil paintings … portraits, landscapes and still life’s with a twist … when a pair of long legged birds came sauntering by. Apparently this is nothing unusual for Floridians, but This Texas girl was amazed and delighted. They were about 5 ft from the car and they’d stop and peck at the ground, groom themselves and then just pose for photos. Naturally Karen and I had our cameras out, and we were snapping away, out the window. Well, there was a Suburban parked near us, and apparently they were veterans of this display because one of them pulled out their cell phone, held it out the window and the phone began emitting a clicking sound.  Well, the cranes snapped to attention, looked around and began to HONK in response. It was such a show and they continued this interplay for about 3 minutes … clickety-click, honk, honk Honk!!  Ideal subjects for a bird painting — we got some great pictures. Then the cranes had enough excitement and they sauntered on down the aisle.

When I got home I looked through my photos and decided it would be fun to do a bird painting of a whole flock of cranes having a gab fest!  I printed and duplicated and cropped, and flipped images so that soon I had nine Sandhill  Cranes flying around my studio.  I was trying to get them to assemble themselves in an artful arrangement on my canvas but they were a flighty bunch! Just as I would think we were close to an arrangement, they would fly around and settle in a new configuration! Finally Air Traffic Control directed them to land on the canvas and I captured them in a pleasing formation. This is the resulting bird painting — oil on gallery wrapped canvas, 12″ x 24″, edges painted black.  $275 with free shipping.

About Valerie Rawlings

Austin, Texas oil painter focusing on portraits, landscapes and still life paintings
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2 Responses to Sandhill Cranes Yakking It Up

  1. Carrie Boyles says:

    Val, I am, as ever, inspired and impressed with the creativity you bring to whatever subject matter to which you choose to turn your attention. I just keep saying…”I LOVE this!”

  2. Karen McDonald says:

    Yes, we Floridians really love our sandhill cranes – you really captured their charm, and I can just hear the honking as I look at the painting. Makes me wonder what they’re all squaking about, but I imagine they’re telling us humans to bug off! Normally, they completely ignore us, acting as if we’re completely invisible, and I guess they were quite annoyed when some of us tried to but into their privacy with his cell phone squauk!