I actually posted this one on my Facebook page last winter, but picked up the paintings again now in order to complete them. The original sketches were made almost twenty years ago during an unusually impressive waxwing invasion. The largest flock reported was one of approximately 14 000 birds, and throughout the winter (which too is exceptional – they normally leave before Christmas) there seemed to be waxwings everywhere. I was then living in Liljendal, a Swedish speaking rural community east of Helsinki and made occasional birding and sketching trips in the surrounding countryside. This time I was heading to a small stream (called Ålhusbäcken) where my intention was to find and draw dippers (which I did too). On my way there I spotted a flock of waxwings resting in a bushy spruce and just had to try to sketch them. The temperature was about -26 (-14,8 F), not extreme but my hands freeze easily so I could draw only a few seconds at a time. After 18 years, I decided to do something of the sketches.
By the end of the winter the waxwings had emptied all the rowans and ate whatever looked like berries or fruits. I got a bag full of old apples from the grocery and hang them in a lilac bush in my garden, and could thus draw the birds comfortably sitting at my kitchen table.