I Found My Prince

The two kissing bullfrogs you see on this year’s Valentine card were observed in Massachusetts.  I have never seen a more passionate pair of critters in my life!  Their courtship bordered on dangerous, a bit like “mating on steroids”.  They did however, finish with what really looked like a kiss.
Card from water color painting. Title is "Kissing Frogs". Text inside of card is "I Found My Prince"
I have always loved small creatures.  As a young girl I waded in a local creek catching frogs and observing the occasional muskrat.  I spent hours at Pauley’s pond with my brother.  We saw hundreds of baby turtles, toads, frogs, etc.  Even snakes intrigued me..

At some point birds became my passion, especially hawks and owls.  At age 21 my mother-in-law introduced me to the numerous songbirds which ate at the feeders stocked by the Bromleys all winter long.

… So it should come as no surprise that my children would be raised with wild critters.  Admittedly there were moments when I, an over-eager parent wanting to share joyful childhood experiences in Michigan, over reached a bit.  Probably it was wrong to take two Michigan frogs (a bullfrog and Leopard frog) on a road trip to Texas.  I did worry we’d get kicked out of a motel if anyone heard the noisy crickets we served up as the frog food.

Some months later the bullfrog died in a well-kept aquarium and the leopard frog was sold to a local Austin exotic pet store (Zookeepers).

A love of wildlife has been passed down to my children.  Stay tuned for some interesting Texas animal tales…

Thanks for listening!

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

Free as a Bird

Watercolor painting of birds perching on the hand-lettered text Watercolor painting of a Red Tailed Hawk, by artist Barbara BromleyWatercolor painting of a bluebird, by artist Barbara BromleyI have been a birder for as long as I can remember. Chasing after birds as they flew actually made me feel free and unencumbered. It was the birds of prey that caught my attention first. The hawks and owls with their fierce eyes were a pleasure to sketch and paint. In Florida I discovered brown pelicans, watching in wonder as they dove beak-first into the ocean to catch fish. They way their bodies “kerplopped” into the water in such a bizarre fashion intrigued me. Then there were the Osprey diving feet first to grab fish with their talons. Sometimes they misjudge the size of their prey and are pulled under the water to certain death.

When I met my (eventual) husband Steve, I found a fellow bird lover in his mom, who introduced me to wrens, finches, and bluebirds. We observed these lovely critters together as they fed from the feeder just outside the large picture window of her Michigan home. Winters were hard, but the birds in her area thrived thanks to the massive quantity of seeds in her feeder. Who needed TV? We had ready entertainment watching a great variety of birds just outside the window.

Watercolor painting of a Rufus hummingbird, by Barbara BromleyIn Texas the hummingbirds provided me with a favorite subject to sketch. I’d work on five different drawings in various poses as the hummers got “nectar” from our feeder. Every year a male black-chinned hummer would arrive perching on our peach tree waiting for females. After mating, off he went to chase another! The females laid eggs then raised two babies alone.

Watercolor painting of a Rufus hummingbird, by Barbara Bromley

While living in Texas our entire family observed the pea-sized eggs in a nest constructed of spider silk and lichens. As the young hummingbirds grew the silk stretched to accommodate their growing bodies.

photo-hummer-on-nestP1Another Texas favorite was the roadrunner, which mates for life. I observed one wandering about seeming greatly disturbed only to find his dead mate close by, the victim of a fast-moving car. It always amazed me to know that roadrunners are capable of working together to kill a rattlesnake, not quite the cartoon image from long ago…

In Massachusetts the nuthatches caught my eye as they moved down a tree trunk head-first. Another treat was watching marsh wrens at Great Meadows. When the babies were fledging the parents had to come out of their hiding places in the reeds to feed them. I was ready with camera and sketchpad!


In Kentucky it was the common mallard ducklings that ticked my fancy. The young would follow their mommy anywhere including a busy street. I’ve also been shocked by the number of cooper’s hawks winging their way through housing developments instead of the forests for which their wings and tails were designed.

Get ready for my next blog about birds I’ve know “personally”.

Happy Birding to ALL!


Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

Grandma’s Kiss

When my son Nick was young we lived in Austin TX, often visiting family in Michigan for the summer.  Our first trip was a very long car ride, and Grandma Russell had been impatiently awaiting our arrival.   GrandmasKiss-For-Web-300x291She was so excited to see Nick that she planted a big, very visible lipstick kiss on his cheek!  It touched my heart so, I knew this was something I had to draw.  I wanted to make it special so I drew a heart of flowers around the portrait. Prior to that time I had not been an avid flower painter but this event got me started down a new path.  I hope you enjoy the drawing – to me it’s a golden oldy, loaded with sentiment!

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature