I painted this watercolor of a Fox Sparrow in 2007, which for whatever reason was a common visitor to my garden that year. I have only attempted to paint a snow scene with watercolor 2 times, this one and another one with juncos. The snow is difficult to accurately depict, but I was fairly satisfied with the effect. Both paintings were sold after a short time. It's also hard to reproduce the snowy scene for prints, so this is the only image I have of the original.
I tromped around the grounds of the nearby forest preserve until I found an interesting tree-like shrub (or shrublike tree) with some kind of berries. I was looking for some combination of red and white to complement the bluebird that I was imaging painting. The leaves were almost completely gone, and the berries were still white, but kind of shriveled. I wanted it to look weathered. I find that plants are more interesting when they're not looking like they're at their best. I just happened to have a scissors with me in the car. With some effort, I was able to hack away at the shrub until I detached some branches.
It appears that the plant is a grey dogwood, judging from my googling.