Thursday, April 17, 2014


Living next to the sea as I did for so many years was a special and enlightening experience. Here I could sample nature in all her differing moods and spent many hours walking the shoreline. On one occasion, I came across this small tidal pool and did some small studies before starting this larger watercolor. The foreground directs the eye upward and into the painting with the subtle lines of draining water through the sand. The small ripples on the right are very important to this work also as they keep the eye inward too. I was especially pleased with the mood of this painting and didn't include any birds of other such seaside life as I felt this would only detract from what I had set out to do. This watercolor is about 22" x 30".

Friday, April 11, 2014


Another painting completed some time ago but recently scanned onto disc so I'm able to post it here. This young peregrine has left the nest and is now finding its way on its own. I wanted to pose the bird against a cliff face as to give some indication as to the place it was born. A few stray grasses give some extra spatial definition to the scene and I used diagonal cracks in the rock for a little movement. Otherwise a simple composition but one that was carefully thought out.

Here is a close-up of the bird - I really enjoyed painting this one. Oil on canvas, size about 30" x 40". Sold.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


With all the snow and cold weather we have had this winter, I just had to post a seasonal painting. This one was completed some time ago and has since sold. The farm is not that far from where I live and having driven past many times, I stopped and did some studies etc before starting the actual painting. In this work I wanted to capture the feeling of an evening sky in winter against which the farm and surrounding trees could stand out. Unfortunately the surrounding area has been developed so I am glad that I captured the scene when I did as so many of the farms around here have gone. The painting was done in oils on canvas, size 20" x 40".

Monday, March 31, 2014


And finally here is the completed painting. Not that much different from where I left off last time but there have been some remaining feathers of the lower wing lightly stated along with a subtle deepening of the burnt sienna tones of the upper wing and back. I added the fine hair-like feathers between the eye and the beak and tidied up some of the smaller feather markings here and there. Not a lot really but this attention to detail is important to me and brought the painting to its final stage. With most of the detail concentrated around the head, ones focus goes there first but I think there it still enough of the rest of the bird to explain it's unusual name and the fading out of the ferruginous color keeps that from dominating the painting - this was what I had in my mind for the portrait when I first conceived of the piece. Ferruginous Hawk is in watercolor on Bainbridge rag matboard. Size is 8" x 12" (20cm x 30.5cm).

Sunday, March 30, 2014


More work done to the wing and back along with some defining of the markings around the cheek and nape. I also darkened the yellow around the bill and eye-ring hoping for some slightly better definition of these parts. Some thin washes under the chin help define the throat along with some very fine streaked markings there. The image here is a little lighter than the others - actually closer to the original painting but I can see even at this point that there will have to be a subtle darkening of some of the values. I don't think there is much left to do at this point, a little more work here and there along with some final details right at the end.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Here I have started laying in washes of burnt sienna to represent the ferruginous color of the back and wing coverts - very exciting! I have also put in some of the darker feathers on the back and started to indicate some of the fine markings of the breast feathers. More work was done to the head, cheek and lores of the bird trying to get a feel for this bird as well as capturing some of the particular characteristics of this species. I also darken the iris slightly. At this point I'm happy that the body is taking on a round shape and seems to have form as well as substance.


As is my usual working style, I started painting with the point of most interest - in this case the eye - laying down thin washes of color until I had built up what I thought was a good representation of the eye. This was followed with local color surrounding the area and on the crown of the bird. Pale yellow for the cere, eye-ring and the gape (which is quite extensive on this buteo) was brushed on. The bill I took extra care with as this area really gives character to a bird, so many thin washes and small dots of color were added until I thought I had it about right. At this point, I wasn't trying to finish any particular part as that would come closer to the end when I could judge the balance of tones a little easier. In part 3 I'll be working on the areas that give this bird its name!