Today's cardinals have a background color that I've never used before. The gold is more of an ochre color and less of a yellow color. The result is a warmer, more calming feel. I really like how it plays with the reds of the cardinals, and disguises their beaks, as if they don't want you to know what they're saying. :) I've also been thinking about the edge of the canvas. In the past, I've worked to the edge and cropped the photos of the works to the edge with a crisp, straight line. Lately, I've been stopping my brushstrokes before the edge of the canvas, and I'm working to capture that with the camera as well. It brings a more uniform feel to the works, and so far I'm enjoying the effect, especially where the birch trees meet the edge of the canvas, such as in these pieces available at Siiviis Gallery in Duluth, MN.