Friday, December 31, 2021



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



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


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



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.

Monday, December 20, 2021



I found a flock of White Ibis on a visit to Chincoteague where they were mixing with other water birds near one of the paths. Initially nervous, they settled down after I stood quietly nearby then after a while, started to feed and preen as before. I managed a few sketches then later in my studio did these more detailed drawings. Early in the year, the adults mixed freely with the juvs but later during winter, the adults had split into their own separate group as had the juvs. Here some of the young birds are starting to show white feathers coming through as they slowly moult into the pure white plumage of adults.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021



Quick study of an adult White Ibis. These birds were often seen in and around Chincoteague, also they occasionally dropped in to feed along the grassy verges of Hopeland where we were staying last winter. Size is 12" x 9", watercolor on Strathmore paper.

Sunday, December 5, 2021



During a recent trip to South Carolina, we we able to get up close to a number of Brown Pelicans that were resting near a marina. It was a great opportunity to do a number of sketches and one or two small watercolor studies. After putting all this reference together, I did this slightly larger painting at home. Since I hadn't painted a pelican before, I decided on doing a juv first. The adult has a much more attractive plumage but still, I got a lot of enjoyment from painting this one. Size is 12" x 9", watercolor on Grumbacher paper.