Birding 101: a new Art Series

I was recently invited by a real “birder” to join him on a little hike in south Fargo along the river to go “birding.”  I met A.G. at my Studio Crawl art event and learned he is beyond the basics of birding.  As a  “wannabe birder” for many years, I jumped at the chance.

I took my camera, binoculars, and headed out early in the morning with A.G.   Four hours later, I had photographed about 15 different species of birds that I don’t normally find at my bird feeder, such as the Swainson’s Thrush, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, American Redstarts, and Cedar Waxwings.  A. G. was a great teacher and gave me the Birding 101 basics.  His eyes and ears are evidence of his own artistic spirit.  Bonus: while on the hike, I met three more birders through A.G., resulting in more knowledge and potential resources for my artwork.

Personally, I think “virtual” learning is for the birds.  In order to truly connect, I must engage with people directly.

Two points I must make about in-person, not virtual, art events:  1.  I meet very interesting people who have resources that run deep, allowing me to learn so much from them. I had casually mentioned to AG that I wanted to go birding, and 6 months later, he remembered my interest and now I am on my way. My world opens up further because of people God places in my path.

2. I fall in love with God’s beauty in a new, fresh way, and suddenly am inspired toward a new series of  bird paintings. It’s that easy: people and nature combine to open up more artistic avenues.

If you are interested in seeing my new bird series, stay tuned.



Birches and a Psalm: a bright future

As I prepare for my upcoming April 30-May 2nd Spring Art Sale, I am grateful for a winter of painting. My workshops had been cancelled since March 2020, and as a person with my  own  mind, I have chosen not to teach workshops through a mask and plastic shield until such restrictions are lifted. Communication has been affected by mumbling through a mask and has eliminated the value of facial expression to convey emotion and affirmation for my students. I assure you I will teach workshops again.  My future is bright because my faith is in Jesus alone, not in money, not success, not material things. This painting conveys that message. I painted this image in oil in 2007 and called it Birches: Looking Up. I painted another version of it last year on black watercolor paper and titled it, Birches: Still Looking Up.  In the last 2 months, I painted this one in acrylic-“similar, but different”, as my mother used to say. In the past 14 years since my first Birches painting, my faith deepened, my trust deepened, my future became brighter because of a string of hardships I faced. Yes, through hardship, one has a choice: become bitter or become better. I chose to put on the armor of God and fight the battles and become better…one way is to continue to look up, trust in God, and share my faith with others.  I cannot take credit for the work I do-it is divinely inspired and this painting is the punctuation mark of my belief that God is the “strength of my life and my portion forever”. That verse comes from Psalm 73:23-26. Read it and be blessed.  I look forward to seeing you at the Spring Art Sale April 3–May 2nd, 2021, 12-6 pm in Moorhead, MN. Contact me for details at








Birches and a Psalm by Barbara Benda, 40″x30″,Acrylic on canvas, SOLD.


Spring Art Sale! Save the dates: April 30-May 2nd, 2021!

                                                                                                                                                    On the Wilderness Loop by Barbara Benda,© 2020.


The 2021 Spring Art Sale will be held from 12-6pm three days, April 30- May 2nd. Beverly and I will have a variety of artworks available for purchase: original watercolors, acrylics, and mixed media collages. We will see you there…mark it on your calendar now.

Double Trouble Gallery in Moorhead, MN is also open to you to do private shopping without other guests, for your safety and comfort.  If you want to visit our Double Trouble Gallery in person by private appointment, please call Barbara at 218-443-1126 or email

Beverly and I invite you to visit our online Benda Twins Art Store  for your shopping needs.  Not all artwork is posted on this site due to the volume of artwork that is created.

Thank you for supporting local art! Some may think that art is not essential at this strange time, but making a living by selling art is essential to us and allows us to pay our bills and keep our doors open! We are grateful for your patronage!