Electric guitar skies


Utilized some new tools for this project. Using fluid acrylics and matte medium to aid in transparency. A slow-dry blending medium to create the sunburst effect. I cut up an old t-shirt into rags and rubbed the paint onto the plywood and over the pencil drawing.  I wanted a sky you could find on a vintage electric guitar.

The Zone-tailed hawk. Capturing it in a slightly more abstract fashion than previous raptor paintings in the last six months. I enjoyed the result of the pencil work, and dragged my feet before starting to paint it. It’s a large leap in technique for me to go from pencil to paint. Taking on each in such a different way, its a trial to imagine the change through mediums. Somehow again I pulled a bird out of a massive pile of black and purple paint. There are some more detailed parts left to paint, but the over-all shape is defined.




Drawing dead tree branches.

Holding on to one of the thousands of dead branches I’ve drawn. If I draw more dead branches than live ones? Suppose it doesn’t matter, when regardless of the nature of the branch, I can convince a bird to land on it. In just the right part of the page. Maybe a cropped tail feather here and there. All for good measure.

And true to a developing form, keeping the bird “scientific” and the sky abstract. I can only take this whole life so seriously after all.


An account of the sky that day.

An account of the sky that day.



That owl I wanted to draw you.

The Great Gray has been a front burner project for the last couple weeks. I sketched a couple dozen before I started this drawing. And just the same this bird seemed to assemble itself in front of me while my eyes watched, and pen went to work. There’s a depth to this drawing I haven’t seen in many of my others before. I tried to visualize every feather and bring them all together one at a time. While this is proven to be quite time consuming, it pushes me deeper in love with the process.

All that’s left is color…


Why did the Octopus cross the road?


I don’t know, but I made a drawing of one swimming somewhere. Something different. Can’t call yourself a wild life illustrator if you only draw birds and branches right?
Well I suppose I could, but drawing this Octopus was a lot of fun. By no means is it close to scientifically accurate other than the right number of legs.
While discussing favorite animals with a friend, the Octopus was mentioned, and I felt compelled to draw one for my friend.
The lines were more fluid to draw than birds, and it was a treat to relax the pen and make longer lines.
The bird drawings have thousands of short pen strokes across the page, the octopus had longer, more graceful pen strokes that curved underwater.

Glide between your wing beats.

I bought this new piece of ply-wood for $40 from the hardware store across town.
I cut it into a few pieces. Not at all evenly, really not sure what sort of math I was using.
They went from biggest to smallest. The small part I wasn’t sure what to do with,
so I left it in the bed of my truck. The medium looked good for a hawk. On that
I laid out the Zone-Tailed Hawk shared here previously. The final piece, larger seemed
fit for a great bird, while I considered an Osprey for a minute, I felt it a fine day to go from
Hawks to Eagles. The Bald Eagle seemed a good starting point.
Here it is in pencil gliding between wing beats.

How to trap a hawk with a #2 pencil.

I cut and sanded the plywood over the tailgate of my truck out in the parking lot today after work.
There’s still sawdust on the asphalt at 1am. The wind will take it soon enough I resolved.
I used two Dixon #2 pencils to bring to focus the Hawk I was seeing in the wood grain.
It’s a Zone-Tailed Hawk, native to southern California, Arizona, and Mexico.
But another of many birds I’ve only seen in books, and my pencil work.
Gliding between wing beats, that’s how it will stay on this page.
Until I set it loose in paint sometime not long from now.

Great Gray Owl

The Great Gray Owl has been of interest to me lately. The largest of our Owls in North America. They hunt over forest clearings and nearby open space by night.
The rings on the face make the yellow eyes appear smaller.
This was my initial sketch after just looking over a few photographs and books. Further studies will yield better illustrations I’m confident.
Two years ago when I decided I wanted to write and illustrate my own collection of birds, I was uncertain of my capabilities of capturing the nuances of the Owls. While I’m still far from mastering it, I do see delightful progress in the direction I desire.

To fall down the drawing table’s rabbit hole again.

Eight hours of drawing tiny lines with a Micron pen bought me these branches, bird, and flower
If such a thing could be bought, this would be how.
My time.
My eye sees it finished before the pen touches cold-press.
While I draw the thought of a lost love rolls through my mind like an old covered wagon,
scrub-brush tangled in the wheels, and the image flickers.
I often travel all the way through the image and into some other place right while sitting still pen in hand.
I can see the songs I love to hear in them, and I can hear the places I like to visit.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a drawing of a Red-tail or a Wren, a mountain range or cellular structure.
If I can catch a glimpse of it, I’ll give my all to put it to page.
Sometimes it’s on wing, and sometimes the branches are empty.

Sketchbook to ward off the rains

Because the hawks aren’t always in the meadow and the song birds seldom perch on my neighbor’s tree.
So I sit down to piece together my own birds of a feather from pencil, time, and pen.
And sometimes a lightning storm rolls through on a July afternoon. Cooling the air before the fireflies come out and I run to catch them.
If I was locked into a game of perpetual solitaire eye-spy. Then I’m just going to have to carry along a sketch pad to catch whatever falls near me.
It can be my umbrella.