February and March are the months that the Sandhill cranes fly high and set their sights on Nebraska’s Platte River as they head North. It is the largest gathering of cranes to be seen anywhere. What a privilege to be able to view them. The excitement of the moment is the inspiration to transform this Sandhill crane into art. Preening was one of the activities that fascinated me on those crisp cool mornings. This is the first pastel painting in the “Spring Cleaning” series.

After establishing the drawing, pastel was lightly applied for the under painting. Cranes have so many beautiful variations of grey and I love using subtle colors. Time to put some color into the back ground. Working the whole painting and comparing color relationships, you can see how the painting is getting stronger as you add more layers. I stopped to look at it the next day. Making decisions at beginning of a new day is a good thing.