Sunday, August 19, 2018


I think I have gone about as far as I can with this painting for now. It will be put aside for a few weeks then taken out for another look. Perhaps there will be a little more work to do, perhaps not. I have found though that I am having a hard job getting a decent photo of this painting. The main problem is getting an image that has both the correct values and the right amount of contrast. If I do get a better image, I'll upload it here. Size is 22" x 15" (56cm x 38cm). Watercolor on TH Saunders paper.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


The goshawk has finally been painted! This is just a first pass on the bird, some of the details and tones will be refined a little later on. The sky looks better in this image, especially after I added a slightly deeper orange tone lower down. I have also done yet more work to the pines but I'm still not entirely happy with that area either. Some of the dried creeper overhanging the branches on the lower right have got their underlying tones but still some way to go with that! I'll hopefully finish both the foreground and the goshawk next.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Quite a bit more work has gone into the pines here, painting around the lighter bits and trying to keep an even balance overall. I have also washed in some darker yellow ochre in the foreground but I'm sure it will have to go a lot darker than it is. Getting the color balance correct in this painting is difficult (the photo more so and the sky is almost completely washed out as a result - should be more yellowish). Coming along though but I can see that the painting will have to be toned down quite significantly. Next I'll paint in the bird and this should help a lot.

Saturday, August 11, 2018


First I laid down a few washes of cadmium yellow medium over the whole sheet then when this was dry, started work on the pines. Some greyish-green helped to take off the starkness of the paper and I then began the lengthy process of painting in the pines and keeping the subtle details as I went. The pines would be quite dark so I had to judge how deep the keep the lightest areas of the pine boughs. The bird was carefully painted around leaving bare paper on which to add the details later. Next I slightly darkened the foreground and considered it a fair start. At least the painting was headed in the direction I wanted it.


Northern Goshawks are rare around here as we are on the southern edge of their range. I usually see them on migration or occasionally during winter. My closest encounter came a few years ago when one killed and almost completely ate a grey squirrel in my back garden. I disturbed it as I stepped out of my studio and just caught a glimpse of it as it flew away.
My idea with this painting was to have an immature goshawk flying from it's roost site early in the morning. The stand of white pines in my painting is over in the reserve where I once saw a goshawk and I thought, a fitting place to base my work on. I drew out the upper edge of the pines first on a new sheet of watercolor paper then lightly indicated the rest of the details - the goshawk was also added at this time. Next, I'll add some color washes and try to get a handle on it.

Saturday, August 4, 2018


When I came to take another look at the painting, the background seemed to lacking something. A few slightly warmer and darker washes fixed that, working carefully around the bird. Next I began subtly darkening the plumage slightly. I also tightened up the eyes a little and corrected the shape of the ear tufts. These were darkened quite a bit to make them a little more believable. And that was it for this one. I cropped the finished work a little as I feel that this is probably all I want to do to the painting for now. Since this will be one of many illustrations for another project I'm working on, I think that it works fine in this study-like form. I have a lot of new paintings to finish for some of my galleries so will put this one aside for now, perhaps I'll do more to it later if I feel that I want to go further with it. Size is 17" x 12" (43cm x 30cm), watercolor on Arches paper.

Saturday, July 28, 2018


Most of the bird has been completed this far but I'm sure that I'll find something else to do to it. I'll work on the background next and possible a few more washes of color here and there. Once I'm happy with that, I'll go back to the bird and finish the finer details etc. I also need to finish that ear tuft!