Sunday, October 28, 2012


Before working on the previous Gryfalcon watercolors, I did this graphite drawing to help me understand the structure and plumage of these birds. Apart from sketchbook work I will on occasion do finished work like this in graphite and I find after drawing something, I know so much more about the subject than when I started. Perhaps I'll do more like this but have been busy lately getting work finished and framed for the Autumn Celebration of Art opening today at McBride Gallery in Annapolis, Maryland. The group show runs until Nov 18th so please stop by if you are in the area. The above drawing is about 5" X 7".

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Working with thin washes as is the usual process for me, I bring the painting to completion. In this case it was adding some finer details and tonal values that helped with the overall feeling of the work. I also dropped in some slightly darker washes to the background which helped further define the shape of the bird. Taking care with some subtle painting in the shadows of the breast helped give a sense of light which is becoming ever more important to me as an artist and giving what I hope is an added dimension to my work. I'll leave the painting as it is for awhile but give it a look over from time to time to see if there are not one or two small areas that need a bit of attention, but for now I'm happy that it's finished.
I really do love the power of these large falcons which is amply shown in the size of the head, beak and breast. I'm sure also that I'll do more of these magnificent birds trying all the while to show what I made of my experiences with them. Size is 15" X 11.5" - watercolor on Arches paper.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


With the work coming along the way that I had hoped it would, I start to think ahead and about how I want the finished painting to look. I had the idea to sort of have the bird emerging out of the darker tones of the painting so I began using thinner washes as I moved down the breast and wing. I'll continue this more as I go along but I think it is going to be a case of simply building up tone and details until I am happy with it. The hardest part was getting a good drawing in place before I even started thinking about adding any paint. Sometimes the work goes so well it feels like I'm doing a paint-by-numbers!

Friday, October 12, 2012


Following along with my falcon series, I have started a new gyrfalcon painting - to be shown in a series of posts. Here after a careful drawing indicating the bird's outline, I washed in a greyish background then when that was dry, started laying in a few lighter tones around the head. I then focused on the eye bringing it almost to completion. Some work was done on the bill and breast of the bird then the painting put aside to dry for awhile - a good start I think.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Another in the series of falcon paintings that I have been working on lately. I was fortunate to see this bird at a falconers meet some time ago so did a few sketches and studies of the bird right there and then. I followed this up most recently with a graphite drawing head study last month then painted this one in pure watercolor on smooth Arches watercolor paper. As usual I started with the eye then slowly built up the tones and details using thin washes of color.
I would have loved to have seen this bird after it had moulted into its adult plumage of pure white with black markings (which are mostly concentrated on the back, wings and tail). One day I hope to do studies and paintings of adult white-phase gyrfalcons but for now will have to be happy with this one. Size is 14" X 11".