Saturday, December 31, 2022



I had watched and sketched this Peregrine quite often during the winter I spent down In Virginia where it was an almost daily visitor to where we were staying. There were plenty of birds for it to feed on and I often saw it hunting - some quite spectacular stoops - but as most of the action was some distance away, never saw it actually catch anything! Occasionally I would find it on the ground feeding (where it seemed to spend a lot of time) othertimes out in the estuary or skimming the shoreline. This is my second favorite falcon (after the Gyrfalcon) and I'm sure this fascination for larger falcons will lead to many more paintings of them. Size is 5 x 7 inches, watercolor on Bockingford paper.

Thursday, December 29, 2022



I was fortunate to be able to draw this bird from life. One of the benefits of any artist is that they need only a few items to be able to capture something of interest - in this case, just a pencil and my sketchbook. This sketch shown here is of  a grey morph bird, (I was lucky enough to see 3 in Iceland). This and other studies led to a number of paintings of these rather handsome birds, none of which really captured what I wanted to say about them - but I'll keep trying! Size is about 5 x 7 inches.

Sunday, December 18, 2022



Here is the finished Puffin portrait. Mostly it was a case of darkening the plumage until I was happy with the tones, then I could set about completing the head. I wanted a faint lighter outline around the top of the head so carefully darkened the area above the eye then used the same black to darken the chin. Then on to the cheeks and the lores, which look pure white but are actually a very pale grey (this grey is much more prevalent on younger birds). When I felt that the tones around the head were about right, I started on the bill using layers of an orangish-red for the most part with a brighter orange on the gape and that just about finished the painting. I'll live with it for a few days to see if I need to do anything more but for now, I'm satisfied that I have captured the bird in the way that I wanted. Size is 8 x 10 inches, acrylic on canvas panel.

Saturday, December 10, 2022



I first saw Puffins many years ago back in the UK when I was still a child and apart from the sketches and small watercolor I did, I haven't painted one since! Well, deciding to do something different for a change, I started on this new painting. The initial working drawing went through many stages as I struggled to get the pose and composition I was looking for. It had to be something that made sense to me artistically - I have included it here.

Eventually I arrived at a design that I could live with then that was transferred onto a rather heavily gessoed canvas panel. This panel had been sanded between coats so that the final surface was a lot smoother than usual but still had a bit of tooth. A blackish-brown acrylic wash was then laid on heavily behind the bird then lightened on the lower right. When dry, I began adding paint sparingly feeling my way in, almost as if I was painting a watercolor. Once some of details came together (such as the eye), I could step back and see how it looked so far. Okay for now but still quite a lot to do!