Tuesday, March 31, 2020


Here I am adding the back and upper wing color which gives this large Buteo its name. I mostly use burnt sienna but slightly modulate the color with sepia where necessary. Some of the black neck and wing markings are darkened and I'm still working on the head a little at this time making some areas a bit darker. I'm about finished with the eyes at this point - I try to get them completed early in the painting process. I find that if the eyes work out, the rest of the bird is likely to follow.


I continue working on the eyes laying in more color and continue until they are finished. I then move on to the bill then the markings around the head building up layers of paint with thin washes of color. I slowly mould the head and neck with paint creating form, texture and tone. Darkening the area under the bill gives that area a little more depth. I also start working on the darker markings of the back and shoulder. The belly gets a subtle outline to lift it off the background.

Monday, March 30, 2020


I went quite dark on the background. All in all, there were three washes of a warmish-brown color laid down over a few hours. Then while the last one was still wet, I gently lifted out some pigment around the head and upper breast. It's quite subtle and the tone doesn't change that much but I didn't want what is essentially a bird with white underparts looking too dark. I think the effect will look okay as the plumage has quite a lot of dark markings so that will make the breast and throat appear much lighter than it looks here. I add yellow around the bill then some grey to the pointy bit leaving a highlight. The eyes get some work too as this is the area that I usually complete first.


Although I have been working on landscapes this month, I came across this drawing of a Ferruginous Hawk that I did some time ago. It had been in one of my many folders of unfinished work just waiting for me to get to it. I had completed a similar watercolor study some time ago and also a drawing which still hangs in our hallway. Anyway, the drawing for this study was already complete and didn't need anymore work so I felt it was a good time to begin work on this one. I started by stretching the paper on a piece of plywood then let it dry overnight.


Another Alaskan landscape seen during our trip we took awhile ago. As in my previous painting, I liked the interplay of light and shadow in this scene. Also the low cloud hanging over the mountain peaks (some of them still with snow) created a somewhat evocative mood. This one is a 9" x 12", oil on canvas.

Monday, March 23, 2020


While in Italy, we visited Pompeii and strolled around the ruins. Weather was warm, bright and sunny. Truly a spectacular and unusual place that has been carefully maintained. There were many interesting vistas and views - all under the looming presence of Vesuvius (which was smoking gently). I found this sunlit view and loved the light and shadow effects so tried to capture this in my painting. This small study is 7" x 5", oil on canvas.
Our thoughts are with Italy  at the moment especially considering what they (and also the rest of the world) are going through. Please take care out there and stay safe.

Friday, March 13, 2020


I have had this painting in my studio for some time now as I'm planning on doing a larger version of it. I often do small studies like this as a kind of sketch and to see how the elements of the scene work together. There is often a bit of adjusting to the values etc before I am happy with the finished study. Some of them simply don't work and I end up painting over them. On reflection, I think I'll change the composition slightly, the position of the foreground bushes and perhaps the sky as well - so a bit of work to be done when I paint the larger one. This study is 5" x 7", oil on canvas.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020


I have been sadly neglecting my blog of late but here finally is an update! I slightly re-worked this painting that I did in Portugal from the time I spent walking in the nearby reserve. To start off the process, I darkened the foreground grasses and added a little more detail there. Then the area closer to the trees was worked on a little adding a few subtle variations of color and tone. I also slightly deepened the tones of the foreground reflections and in some other areas such as the bases of the trees etc. I think after this, it look a little better than the original and is now for sale at McBride Gallery in Annapolis, MD.