Wednesday, November 30, 2022

WADER SKETCHING ALONG THE SHORE

 



While visiting the Eastern Shore not too long ago, I came across quite a few groups of waders and managed some sketches of them. I am not all that familiar with Marbled Godwits but still did some reasonably decent studies of them, one of which is shown above. The smallish party of them were feeding quite close to the road so was able to work from the car.





Willets were seen all along the beach and being a little more approachable, I did more studies of them. I tried to capture some different poses and some weak sunlight on the birds created an interesting interplay of light and shadows.





This bird was actively preening for some time which allowed me to first finish an initial drawing, then I could fill in the details with watercolor trying to capture the rather subtle plumage of these birds. It is only in flight that the black and white feathers are seen and are quite a contrast from the rather drab look of these birds. I think I need to do some oil studies of them which would allow me to more accurately paint the many variations of warm greys around the head, neck and back - as well as doing a better job of capturing the foaming surf they are so often seen in.


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

WINTER MARSH

 


The marsh in winter always has a special appeal to me, difficult to explain why exactly but this feeling is more intense during dawn and dusk. I expected to find a small party of Black Duck but none were seen although the deep croak of a Great Blue Heron resonated across the reedy expanse as one flew overhead. In the end, I still came home satisfied that I had seen something different and rewarding. It was this that I later translated into the painting shown here. Size is 11 x 7.5 inches, watercolor on Arches paper.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

SKETCHBOOK STUDIES

 


Some sketchbook bird studies that I didn't get around to posting. This female Boat-tailed Grackle was sketched when we drove down to South Carolina a while ago and seen while birdwatching along the coast. There was quite a large flock of them feeding on the leftovers from shucked oyster shells so I moved closer to get a better look at them. I was able to stand quite close by as birds dropped down to feed for awhile then moved on as others came in. I really enjoyed all the displaying, calling and posing between the males while the females were more concerned to quickly grab what they could. Interesting to note that the males were far less concerned about me than the females were.




This Horned Grebe in winter plumage was diving just off the access road next to Little Tom's Cove at Chincoteague NWR so I parked up for a while to get some sketching done. Fortunately it stayed around the same area for some time - enough to get most of this small study done.






The European Eagle Owl sketched here was being rehabilitated at Kadoori Farm in Hong Kong and was done in Jan, 1984 when I still lived there. Although there wasn't a lot of light, I did have quite a bit of time alone with the bird so along with the smaller sketches, I was able to do a slightly larger watercolor study of the bird as it sat looking at me.





Another quick (and unfinished) study of a female Red-flanked Bluetail also painted when I was in Hong Kong. Most of this one was done in the field while a little more detail was added when I got home. I still have a lot more sketchbook studies that I'll get around to posting once I have finished off my latest commission.

Monday, November 7, 2022

DOWNY WOODPECKER

 



I enjoyed drawing the female Downy so much, I thought that I would do a male but this time in watercolor. Using some of the reference gathered at the lake a week or so ago, I carefully drew out then painted this bird using an underside view. I have some sketches done of this bird as well so will post them later. Size is 12 x 9 inches, watercolor on Grumbacher paper.

Monday, October 31, 2022

RECENT BIRD DRAWINGS

 


Walking around a nearby lake the other morning, we found this Downy close to the path, the first of 6 species of woodpeckers seen - Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied, Northern Flicker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Pileated! Seeing as Downy Woodpeckers are usually more approachable than others, I was able to do some quick sketches while this female explored the lakeside trees and shrubs. Later I turned those sketches into this drawing when we got back home.



 Also present was this Great Blue Heron and looked amazing as it sat and preened in the morning sun. Since the bird didn't move much, I was able to do more in the way of sketches and studies so after I had finished the Downy drawing, I drew this one. I'll probably paint it in watercolor sometime soon as the light was perfect. Both these were done in my sketchbook, sizes 5 x 8 and 11 x 8 inches.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

MUSCOVY DUCK

 



On our walks around the harbor, we often saw this beautifully marked female Muscovy Duck. Being quite tame and used to people walking by, it would usually sit quietly on the waters edge where I could sketch and photograph it. There was also a male Mallard that the Muscovy followed around so perhaps they were a pair! A few times I saw the bird in flight and didn't realize how well they can fly as they are usually associated with tame or barnyard collections. This watercolor study was done on Grumbacher paper, size is 12 x 9 inches.

Monday, October 17, 2022

WINTER STREAM

 



I usually jump across this stream on my way around the reserve but after snow covered the landscape, I hesitated as I didn't want to slip and get wet feet! This is a crossing I like to make as it leads to the old farmhouse which I love to see after a snowstorm. This time, I made it safely across and was rewarded with some wonderful views of the snow-covered farmhouse - a scene I still plan on painting. Size of this one is 11 x 7.5 inches, watercolor on Whatman paper.