Month: January 2014

Sketches of California (Not Spain).

Somewhere California, USA.

Somewhere California, USA.

I cut up a piece of cold-press board to do some smaller drawings. This one, inspired by a recent bike ride around my town in Ca. central coast.

I got my warblers framed and on my wall. They’ve been wrapped up in plastic in my closet since I finished them. While its a far cry from a public gallery, they’re up in the light, and after all that’s what this blog is all about. And where else can you see 30 species of warblers next to Katy Perry and a Van Gogh print? Damn right.

Wall of birds and pop music.

Wall of birds and pop music.

 

 

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Well there ain’t no bugs on me…

Squash Bug.

Squash Bug.

A quick lunch break sketch from work today. the shapes for bugs are simple compared to a flying red-tail, but they have their own challenges. Like antennae shape and the legs. Insects are small for the most part and with that comes some detail difficulty.

A good thing, like the birds, I have the rest of my life to practice getting them on paper.

Recall the days that still are to come, Some sing blue

Broad-winged Hawk in pen.

Broad-winged Hawk in pen.

I went for a Barn Owl counting bike ride tonight in between spending time on some raptor drawings. I didn’t see any owls, but I did see two deer and rode 10 miles of gravel roads in the dark.

I saw a bunch of Broad-winged Hawks while in Michigan last summer with my Father. Driving down some logging roads one afternoon. Five in one clearing. We stopped and watched one perched in a tree 40 feet away on our left. It was perched much like this one, looking back at us with some concerned curiosity.

Some song lyrics in my head today,

“Hang your heart on laughing willow,
Stray down to the water,
Deep Sea of Love.

Beneath the sweet calm face of the sea,
Swift undertow.

Life may be sweeter for this, I don’t know,
See how it feels in the end.
May Lady Lullaby sing plainly for you,
Soft, strong, sweet and true.

Red-tail Hawk in flight.

Red-tail Hawk in flight.

 

…..Gone are the days we stopped to decide,
Where we should go,
We just ride.

Gone are the broken eyes we saw through in dreams,
Gone – both dream and lie.”

-Robert Hunter, The Grateful Dead.

Have your way with each day as its granted to you.

My town.

My town.

I decided it was a good day to start working on my raptor project. I put my supplies in my backpack and went outside, it’s been unusually warm lately and it seemed a shame to stay indoors drawing.

Red-tail Hawk perched on an old fence post.

Red-tail Hawk perched on an old fence post.

I made a few rough sketches of some raptors and took in the view from atop the hill.

A pair of White-tailed Kites were hunting along the hillside, hovering 20 feet off the ground while scanning for prey.

A Kestrel perched on a dead branch.

A Kestrel perched on a dead branch.

On my walk back down the hill towards home two Kestrels flew right over my head at top speed, chasing each other like fighter jets in the noon day sun. When almost back to my house a Sharp-shinned hawk flew by to my left. It certainly was a good day to start the raptor project.

She promised that she’d be right there with me, When I paint my masterpiece.

Plate one

Plate one

plate2

Plate two

I started this blog in November. My first post was the image of the 1st plate of warblers here. I descided after finishing that first plate I would do more, and after pouring over bird guides I narrowed it down to 30 warblers total. Believe me there are more, but I didn’t want to burn myself out drawing so many similar sized birds, nor did I wish to burn out the viewer .

I chose the birds based on name and coloration, then broke them into groups of six, as thats what fits best on the 16×20 cold press board that I use. Many of the proper field guide books break them into groups of like-colors. Which makes sense when you’re trying to identify a bird in the field.  I descided against that as I found it more visually striking to have a variety of colored birds on each page instead of all very similar colors and field identification aid isn’t my goal with this project. That goal instead being to illustrate the beauty of the natural world around us.
plate3

Plate three

I couldn’t resist putting Nashville, Grace’s, and Tennessee togther on the same row.  Something about the poetry I’ve spoke of before.

plate4

Plate four

The Cerulean Warbler was one of my favorites, its not often I get a chance to use so much blue…except for scrub jays, Stellers jays, blue jays, and all three varieties of bluebirds…ok I guess there’s a few.

plate5

Plate five

 

How to sit on a chair in California and draw birds.

Black and White Warbler

Black and White Warbler

Tonight I finished my 5 plates of Warblers. After I finished I went out for a bike ride in the night. I rode through town and out past some cow pastures. On my way I saw a great big Barn Owl on the wing. It flew silent over an empty lot. It seems like when a project or journey ends there’s some kind of remorse, but that owl reminded me my journey has just begun.

Red-Tail Hawk in flight as it progresses on the page.

Red-Tail Hawk in flight as it progresses on the page.

I’ve all ready started a few more birds of prey, like the Red-Tail shown here. I plan on making a series of various birds of prey in flight over then next few weeks.

Thank you for stopping by and joining me on my adventure in bird illustrations/life.