Now that a vaccine is in circulation, it is safe to say there’s hope on the horizon for better days. Thats why I feel it’s a good time to feature “A Gift of Hope”. A watercolour painting featuring a chickadee carrying a star on a string, symbolizing a message of hope.

Chickadee Art
“A Gift of Hope”

If you’ve been following my work for long you’ll recognize this as one of my favourite subjects to illustrate. It really should come as no surprise that the Chickadee is probably my favourite type of bird. I even included one in my logo!

A Bird Carrying A Star

I’m not one hundred percent sure when I first came up with this particular theme but now that I think about it I’m almost certain it was a dream of mine. So this got me thinking and I ended up falling down a rabbit hole.

I pulled out some of my old sketchbooks, and spent the next few hours looking back at old sketches and drawings.

It is unreal how much I’ve improved over the years. Sometimes looking at old sketches and drawings gets a little cringe worthy. Obviously I need to share what I found. 

Sketch from before 2009
Sketch from 2012
Sketch from 2016

The first picture is from a sketchbook I used in high school. So this drawing is from sometime before 2009. It’s full of dragons and medieval themed characters. 

The Second picture is dated. 2012! The year we all got nervous about the mayan calendar. Good times. Now we have the climate crisis. Some man who would fit into a TLC reality show took over the American government for an afternoon… I want to go back to the summer of 2016 and play Pokemon GO with everyone again. 

The last picture is from the end of 2016. These were the concept sketches for my first set of greeting cards. “A Message of Hope”

So where I’m trying to go with this is that birds carrying stars has always symbolized a message of hope for me. 

When did you Create A Gift of Hope?

I painted this piece during Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue Artwalk. An annual event usually hosted the second weekend of July each summer.

As a displaying artist you’re encouraged to create something during the event. 

I was inspired by this giant tree my booth was set up beneath. Look, I found a picture my partner and I at my table.

Well… it’s a bit difficult to see but on the table in front of me is the block of paper that eventually became this piece. 

Edomton’s Whyte Avenue ArtWalk 2019

I’ve been participating for years. I’m not sure if I’ll be going back to Edmonton to participate this coming summer or if the artwork survived 2020. I guess we will have to wait and find out. 

Give us the Specs! 

The original was created primarily with watercolour, and then I went in with coloured pencil to create some of the finer details. 

I chose to go with a wider boarder and double matting and set it in a more modern black frame. It helps create contrast between the framing and the original. You see the vibrant green and the star first. Then you take in everything else!

I’m quite happy with how it turned out. It’s actually hanging in my office as we speak. 

I should probably get back to work. I’m in the process of creating a commissioned piece with three chickadees in autumn. I can’t wait to show you all the result. If you’ve been following along on instagram. I hope you’re just as excited as I am! 

For inquiries about commissions I’d be happy to hear from you. In the meantime. 

Stay creative,

Justin Erickson 


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