Wednesday, May 5, 2021

CASTLE WINDOW, PART 2

 



I continued by working on the sunlit area on the right then followed by deepening the shadows contained within the window alcove. There was quite a lot of variation of tones to deal with and also texture created by the rough stonework. The rest of the wall surrounding the window was in deep shadow and it took me 2 tries to get right, having to wait until the paint dried before I could overpaint it all again. I got there in the end though and was happy to leave the painting as it was for now. Size is 14" x 11", oil on canvas.

Friday, April 30, 2021

CASTLE WINDOW, PART 1

 



We explored a number of castles during our trip to Ireland a few years ago and discovered many different aspects of them. In this painting, I wanted to recreate a view looking out of one of the narrow windows high up on the south side. The drawing for this one was (for once) relatively simple and was quickly taken care of which allowed me to proceed onto the painting part which I usually enjoy more. I remember there were tall trees that took up most of the view so I started putting those in laying down thin layers of oil and creating a bit of texture. I then began working on the edges of the window itself trying to capture the idea of sunlight streaming in from the left. I also worked a bit on the rough stonework surrounding the window then put the painting aside for a while to dry having made, I felt a good start.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

PIPING PLOVER

 



During a recent trip to Chincoteague, I was very happy to discover that Piping Plovers had arrived - I found 3 feeding on the same mudflat quite close to each other along with Dunlin and Black-bellied Plovers. I was able to stay and draw them for a while but did this watercolor later when we got back home. They really are diminutive birds but typically plover-like in behavior. And when a Merlin zipped past heading north, all the other waders took off but they amazingly stayed, crouching slightly for a while then they began feeding again. This painting was done on Canson watercolor paper, size is 12" x 8".

Friday, April 23, 2021

THE ANGRY SEA

 



Walking the Atlantic shore in winter is not always the most pleasant thing to do especially when it is wet, windy and cold. Still, there is usually something interesting too see even if there isn't much wildlife around. A passing storm had whipped up the sea so there were whitecaps way out and plenty of foam too. And the breakers were having their tops whipped off in the wind! I tried to capture what I saw and experienced that day in the small watercolor above. Size is 11" x 7.5" - painted on Arches watercolor paper.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

DARK-EYED JUNCO

 


Dark-eyed Juncos are quite common winter visitors around the Eastern Shore where we are staying. The population we see here are 'slate-colored' and are a basic combination of dark grey upperparts and white underparts - the females have some brown on them. Consequently for the artist, they are perfect subjects when using a pencil. During winter, I have had up to 40 Juncos feeding around the house usually in the company of Chipping and Song Sparrows with whom they flock during the colder months. Most have moved northward now that it has warmed up but being so common, I had plenty of chances to draw them as they either fed out front or sat and preened in the small bush outside one of the east-facing windows. These drawings initially started out as quick studies but I did more and more to them as I watched each bird until they were far more detailed than I wanted. Still, this was an enjoyable experience and I suppose that is what really matters. Drawn in my sketchbook, size 12" x 9".

Thursday, April 8, 2021

RESTING WILLET

 



I have been drawing and painting Willets - a medium-sized wader usually found along the coast. We most often see them in a around Chincoteague where there can be quite sizable flocks on some of the tidal ponds. At other times they are dotted along the shoreline either resting, like the sketchbook study I did here, or actively feeding in the surf. They don't quite chase the tide line like sanderlings do but will also feed in shallower water as the tide recedes. This bird is still in its winter plumage although a few new feathers have come in. During spring and summer, they have darker streaks on their breast and sides of belly along with markings on some of their back feathers - I'm looking forward to painting these breeding-plumaged birds.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE

 



I found this Boat-tailed Grackle drinking from a puddle near the ocean at Chincoteague on the Eastern Shore and did some sketches as the bird was present for some time. Later at home, I painted this illustration, trying more than anything to capture the wonderful iridescent plumage of the bird as it appears in direct sunlight. Although not as obvious, the black on the wings and tail also have a subtle reflective sheen that changes due to the direction of the sun but these areas lack the bright iridescence seen on it's body. While following it around, I discovered that they are somewhat large and lanky birds with what seems to be an almost too-small of a head set on top of it's body. This watercolor was done in my sketchbook, size is 9" x 12".