This was my first project of 2020 and my first large project on canvas in a few years. It took me longer than I expected to get all the squares of the sky just exactly perfect. One of the few paintings I’ve made where the hawk was the “easy” part.
We’ve looked at this bird together before, and I’m grateful for another opportunity to share it with y’all again. North America’s largest species of Accipiter hawk. Found in forested areas of North America, Europe, Asia, and even northernmost Africa. They feed on a wider variety of prey animals than other Accipiter hawks. Birds, small mammals, insects, amphibians, and reptiles make up the menu.
This was a fun one to paint. I took my time with it over three weeks. Having made a few portraits of this species in recent months I felt it was past time for a full scale illustration of the bird in acrylic paint on a birch panel. So here we are.
Thanks so much for looking at birds with me again.
Hawks have been a focus of mine since the beginning of this decade that’s now closing down. Catching a glimpse of a red tailed hawk coasting on the thermals while I rode my bike in the hills of California. That’s where my interest was first peaked. I feel I’ve lived a lifetime since then. Though that same situation still occurs while I’m exploring the shores of Lake Michigan or the very same prairies I did long before my love affair with painting hawks began.
It became important to me to learn how to paint those birds and all the countless others that I’ve crossed paths with. While this decade is coming to a close my journey as an artist is just beginning. I’m proud to share another hawk painting with you.
With this blog as I developed it, I made a point to steer away from the poetic and just share the science and while I still intend to share more species and information with you. Forgive me while I take but a moment to reflect on the miles and years we’ve all come to get to today.
This one is for our friends who can’t be here with us tonight. Thank you so much for looking at birds with me.
I’ve painted plenty of adult Red-tailed Hawks and wanted to do a panel painting of a first year hawk. Even more specifically a light morph. Red-tailed hawks don’t gain their namesake red tail feathers until their second and even sometimes third year.
This was painted on a panel that’s been used for a few different paintings and has been sanded down many times and washed with several different background colors. That’s what gave it the unique coloring you see here.
I’ve probably painted more of these birds than any other. They hold a special place in my heart. Thank you so much for looking at birds with me.
So here we are again looking at owls.
I had worked most of this painting out to be in “scientifically accurate” colors (see also shades of brown) but halfway through I changed my mind.
Some nights when I know it’s going to be hard to find sleep I think about bird painting.
“What if I made the owl in shades of blue/gray?”
“Shit, I hope I remember this when I wake up”
Well I did. (mostly).
One of the most wide spread species of owl on the planet. They are found on all continents except Antarctica. These owls occupy open and lightly forested regions as well as agriculture and urban areas.
Barn owls feed primarily on small mammals such as mice, rats, and voles. Most of which are hunted from a perch. Bats occasionally make the menu as well, taken in flight. A barn owl family with nestlings can consume as many as 10,000 rodents per year. This makes them a friend to corn and grain farmers everywhere.
Crowned Hawk-Eagles are said to be Africa’s strongest bird of prey. Found in densely forested areas of central and southern regions of Africa. These large eagles feed primarily on mammals, also birds and reptiles. Hyrax, monkeys, and even domesticated cats are taken.
Australia’s largest bird of prey. Found in a variety of habitats across Australia and southern New Guinea.
Feeds on a variety of prey animals. Large lizards, birds, rabbits, wallabies, young kangaroos, bandicoots, goats, sheep, and carrion make up just some of the menu.
I made another Wedge-tailed panel two years ago when I first moved to Chicago from Oakland. It was the second panel I made in my new home. They’re a tricky bird to paint, their faces aren’t fully feathered and that’s a fun challenge.
Found in a variety of color morphs across much of North America. Occupying a variety of habitats, open savanna, grasslands, coniferous forest, deserts with cacti, farmlands, and urban areas. Feeds primarily on small mammals like mice, voles, squirrels, and chipmunks. Occasionally preys on reptiles, birds, and swarming insects.
Absolutely one of my favorite birds to paint, photograph, and watch. Here’s a collection of a few of my recent paintings of North America’s lion of the sky as well as a few photographs from the field.
The largest species of wood owl, and the largest species of owl found in North America. Feeds primarily on mice and voles that it hunts in its forested habitat of the upper northern hemisphere.
This is my second panel dedicated to this species of Owl. Painting directly onto a block print that I made on a panel my father made.