Wednesday, May 31, 2023



I had been sketching this barn from the roadside for a while before I noticed the bull standing there soaking up the morning sunshine. Initially I was attracted by the dilapidated state of the barn and the surrounding buildings contrasting with the freshly fallen snow but I realized that bull might make a fine addition to the scene. Mostly it is hidden by the fencing and being black, almost disappears against the darker shadowed background but I think that makes it all the more interesting. In this study, I was mostly trying to bring together some of the different elements of the scene and hoping for some truth - with all the light and shadow, things are a little confusing. I kept this one smallish for now as I am planning a larger version sometime soon. Size is 12 x 9 inches, watercolor on Grumbacher paper.

Friday, May 26, 2023



I painted this lily slightly larger than the previous study. The petals have continued to open creating a quite different shape from the previous one. I also chose a slightly different view but otherwise kept most of the painting similar although I used a different background color (a very deep brownish-purple - which is not that obvious in this image). I think I'll continue to explore the idea of using different flowers against a darker background as now that spring has arrived, there are quite a few in bloom. This oil is 10 x 8 inches.

Thursday, May 18, 2023



Whenever I am working on a new idea, I never know where it will take me. A lot of my paintings are conceived in a relatively short time - others go through a number of smaller drawings (thumbnails) and watercolor studies etc before the final work is completed - this work seems to be of the latter. Anyway, since I was enjoying re-visiting some of my previous observations with young eagles, I couldn't help doing more studies of them. 

The lower drawings of these two sketchbook pages are of a sub-adult Bald Eagle I saw in Canada. I think the bird was at a wildlife demonstration so I was able to walk right up to it and gather a lot of information. Apart from the sketches I did, I also took down some color notes and also info about the structure etc. Due to its large size, I guessed this one was a female and it was incredibly impressive close up. I was really taken by its eyes, large bill and very thick talons! Wish I could have spent more time with the bird. Fortunately a nearby visitors center had an adult eagle in a large cage (along with some other birds)  that was easily accessible so I often went there to sketch and to paint. These drawings are both 12 x 9 inches.

Saturday, May 13, 2023



I have been planning another eagle painting for some time now so I started off by doing this study as a way of working out exactly how I wanted to approach it. I was lucky to find this sub-adult eagle a while ago and did a few studies straight into my sketchbook. I grabbed the nearest marker I could (a blue ballpoint pen) and began drawing as I wasn't sure how much time I would have. I painted this study referring to those sketches and my memory of this magnificent bird. I estimate this is a 2nd or 3rd year bird as the bill is getting some yellow in it along with the slightly lighter iris. There seems to be a quite a lot of lighter crown feathers too which would indicate that it would perhaps get some white head feathers next year. I also remember this bird to be really big so I'm presuming a female. I have more studies of this bird to get to next so I'll see where they take me. Size is 8 x 10 inches, watercolor and acrylic.

Thursday, May 4, 2023



I did this small study while observing a lily slowly opening its petals. Since this took place over a few hours, I had enough time to complete a study. I did this smaller one first more as a hopeful experiment as I hadn't done anything like this before. I wasn't sure if I would have enough time to finish it so I kept the idea and composition simple. I am happy with the results though and am already working on a slightly larger painting of the same lily but after it had opened a little more. Size is 7 x 5 inches, oil on board.