I find the times of year when I feel most creative are the Spring and the Autumn (or March and September, to be specific). I'm lucky enough to live in the country and have a big garden with lots of trees in it, and at this time of year the sound of the dawn chorus is astonishingly loud - loud enough to wake me up.
I don't mind. I feel like a bird myself at the moment - full of the urgent quickness of spring, the desire to make the most of this delicious time of year that's quivering with anticipation. The buds are swelling on the trees, so many flowers are poking up their first shoots through the cold Devon earth, and blossom's out already on a couple of trees. It's great to wake just before first light, with the sound of one lone bird trilling out the wake-up call, and then, within a few minutes, a massive tumbling of all sorts of different bird calls - ring collar-doves, blackbirds, blue-tits, robins - I even heard an owl (must have been confused) trying to join in the other day.
So, maybe it's no coincidence that I've been making lots of mixed-media pieces with birds in them. I've finished this one, with a blue-tit in a pear tree yesterday. It's funny - I've realised that recently most of my characters have their eyes shut (I think they exude more calm with their eyes shut), so it was nice to paint some open eyes - it makes a stronger connection between the character and the bird, to have her looking at it. I'm going to start the next one this afternoon - I am addicted. I love creating birds as part of a mixed-media collage, making them a little home, and giving them a human friend.