Friday, January 28, 2011


I found this Nene (or Hawaiian Goose) at the Washington DC Zoo and was captivated by it's interesting plumage. Broad feather fringes on the wings and back were reverse-patterned on its breast and flanks with soft warm tones on the head and neck contrasting sharply against the dark head. I liked the way that when the bird tucked it's bill into the scapulars, gaps opened up on the neck feathers creating interesting patterns so that is how I painted it. Most zoo animals and birds are quite approachable which is perfect for sketching, drawing and getting up close to view those oh-so-elusive details that can be hard to see in the wild. Because this bird was so tame, I initially spent quite some time doing accurate drawings before starting the watercolor, which was done in many thin washes of color onto smooth Arches paper. Completed some time ago, this painting is now in the private collection of a friend. The size is 7 1/2" X 11".

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


In a previous post I wrote about the beauty of the African Fish Eagle along with some studies that I have made of them. In this painting, I decided to feature the bird in its environment - here sitting in an ubiquitous thorn tree with weaver bird nests in the background. I love all birds but find that it is often the largest eagles and falcons that excite me the most as an artist and naturalist, but these birds are often the ones that are most difficult to see - at least not well enough to get enough information to create a painting. Visiting certain Zoos and wildlife rehab centers is always a good idea as is going to falconry meets etc but there is nothing like seeing the bird in the wild doing what it should. And that is what I have tried to capture in this painting. Thanks to Craig for help with this one! Size is 22" X 15" painted on Arches watercolor paper. SOLD.

Monday, January 3, 2011


I did this watercolor some time ago but only today came across a digitalized pic of it! I remember at that time quite a few years ago being struck by how much goes unseen under our feet! And as a result started to look a little more carefully - a practice that I still continue to this day. I did a series of paintings like this one and would have done more but for the fact that each one took ages! Here it is Springtime in the forest which is slowly coming to life. New plants and flowers are blooming under the dappled shade of a warm day and moss is starting to grow again after early spring showers. Last years leaves are still to be found though slowly decaying into humus. It is the time for spring migrants to be heard calling through the woods and if you are lucky, the sight of a newly-born fawn. The Forest Floor is 11" X 15". SOLD.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


First I would like to wish you all a wonderful New Year - may it bring you all peace, health and happiness! Like so many I have made a list of new year's resolutions, let's see how long I can keep to them!
I have had the box featured in this painting with me for some time, the penguin figurine for less so but I thought that they would work well together. So after trying a few different compositions, I came up with the one I liked best then made a careful drawing onto hot-pressed Arches watercolor paper. After stretching, the paper was washed over a few times with Raw Sienna then I began work on the box. More (but slightly darker) washes of the background color were added then I did the wood grain before touching in most of the smaller details with a finer brush. The figuring actually took much longer that I had thought as there was some careful modulating to see to then the darker tones were built up over time. Finally the eye of the penguin and the shadows were built up. Sometimes the simplest compositions are the best and I had in mind the work of Alan Magee while I was working on this one. Size is 10" X 12".