Tuesday, January 18, 2022

EAGLE OWL

 



I have seen a number of European Eagle Owls in the wild but the details of this bird came from a raptor rehab center where I was able to get up close. My usual studies were first completed in my sketch book directly from life (both in pencil and watercolor)  which ran to two or so pages, then I later did this head study. I was trying to capture something of the intensity that these large birds exude along with the softness of their feathers. Size is 6 x 9 inches (15 x 23cm), watercolor on Grumbacher paper.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

BARNACLES

 



During a very low tide at Guard Shore Beach in Virginia, I found these remnants of what was probably a jetty of sorts, covered in barnacles. I did as much drawing as I could in my sketchbook before the tide came in again, then finished the rest at home laying in washes and adding some final details right at the end. Size is about 6" x 9", watercolor on Grumbacher paper,

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

RING-BILLED GULL

 






In this painting, I wanted to capture the feeling of a bright and warm sunny day along the shore so I kept the values quite light except for the bird's shadow. I started by painting the background waves in a loose and free manner trying for movement and color more than anything else. The gull was also painted in a somewhat loose way aiming for form without getting too caught up in the details. The warm reflected light on the belly of the gull was as important as getting the structure of the bird right then some smaller details were added last of all. The foreground was finished off with just a few indications of broken shells etc. Size is 12" x 9", watercolor on Grumbacher paper.

Friday, December 31, 2021

FORSTER'S TERNS

 



Getting really close to Forster's Terns at Chincoteague during the spring led to me being able to finish this head study shown here - at this distance, they are quite spectacular! You don't often see a highlight in the eye of a tern as they either have hooded brows or eyes that are deeper into the skull (I'm not sure which) so unless the angle of the sun is lower in the sky (as is in this case) the eye simply looks black. And it is only close up that you can see the very dark brown iris.






 And here is the same species showing the head in winter (I actually painted this study first). The bill looses its bright orange-red color and becomes dull red and black - some even darker than shown here. Just a faint highlight in the eye as the sunlight is weaker. Both watercolor on Grumbacher paper. Sizes are 6" x 9".

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

DOUBLE -CRESTED CORMORANT

 



This back-lit cormorant was feeding close to where I was standing so I was able to do a few sketches in between dives. It once came up with a small eel that wriggled out of its bill and was quickly gone back into the depths! I found it interesting that the cormorant didn't even give chase and after a while, moved on to another area and began diving again. Size is 12" x 9", watercolor on Grumbacher paper.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

EVENING FALLS STUDY


On of my first nocturnes. Just a study for now, but for me an important step in a direction I haven't travelled before. This is one of the buildings that I see out of our window looking across the harbor to downtown so I can closely observe it each day as the light fades out of the sky. In my painting, I wanted something in between evening and night when the sky still has a little color but it is not totally dark. I suspect my next nocturne will be when it is completely dark and I can capture all the lights and colors that go with city life. Size is 10" x 8", oil on canvas.
 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

MORNING LIGHT, STUDY

 



This view looking down river is one I see most mornings (when I get up early enough!). I have been continuing my tradition of checking out the atmospheric conditions each day just as it is getting light and if things look interesting, I quickly dress and go downstairs then out onto the nearby boat dock which extends out over the water. From here I have good views in most directions and can observe the changing sky as it gets light and as the sun begins to rise. On this particular morning, it was cold and cloudy but the sky began to clear somewhat as the sun came up. More than anything, it was the cloud formation and the quality of light which caught my attention. For this study (and most of the others I have been doing recently), I have kept it small but even so really struggled with the painting of it! There are some areas that I had to redo and I am not happy with that but in the end, I did get close to what I was after. At least now, if I paint a larger version, I'll have the experience of doing this one to guide me. Size is 8" x 10", oil on canvas.