earth science

Merlin (The bird not the magician)

Putting together the third of a four panel collection. Falcons of North America. Already completed are the Kestrel and Prairie Falcon.

Falco peregrinus. (Again probably).

I cracked open a can of cola and laid out the paints I would need. As well as several books opened to pages with peregrines on them. To double check the colors I imagined.
I always start these with some idea but a lot of it I figure out on my way through it. Still learning how to best translate from pencil to paint.
f1
When I got to the wings I looked for blue….I found some in my paint box.
f2
The body through me for a loop, and I sat staring at it for a good bit. In the background I could hear the soundtrack of a movie I was half watching. Somebody was laughing.
f3
A glance to the window and I knew where to go. Like driving in the night and checking the map under a streetlight. (I guess now everybody looks at their phone).
I brought back the smallest brush and approached like it was my micron pen. With the precision of a drunk surgeon with a rusty scalpel.
I like paper maps.
falconfinal
Got it sorted well enough.
No simple highway.

Maps to get lost with.

I had a delightful afternoon of painting owls and laughing at my own jokes.

My jokes, like when I put the Nashville and the Tennessee Warblers on the same page, this map was begging for the largest owl of each region…..right?

My punch line, The Great Grey and the Eurasian Eagle Owl.
The Great Grey I had painted before but this was my first Bubo. I have seen one once before at a wildlife presentation in Southern California. It was injured and unable to fly but still sat with more pride and power than any human I have ever met.
Its eyes seemed to stare through me like a laser shot through soft butter.
The Great Grey still is a ghost on my list of birds to see. They can be found in California but certainly not on my chair in Oakland so I’ll probably need to pack a backpack and head to the Yosemite region if I want to get closer than photos in books or my own sketch pads.
Great Grey Owl Strix nebulosa

Great Grey Owl
Strix nebulosa

Eurasian Eagle Owl Bubo bubo

Eurasian Eagle Owl
Bubo bubo

Warblers in April finished.

I completed the last work tonight on my 20 warblers on 8×10 wooden pages. I left the 10th page in pencil for “artistic reasons”. I suppose I want whoever looks at these to be able to better see where they come from. People always ask my “why birds?” The best answer I can come up with is that if you walked my mile, I imagine you’d paint a lot of birds too. Maybe the pencil work will help.

Who’s next? Finches? Birds for Atticus….

bandwandprairie commonyellowthroatandredstart goldcheeckandhooded hermitandyellow kentandmag kirtlandsandyellowrump redfacedandmourning warblerstnandnash warblerswoodfinal.jpg yellowandbtblue

Write a poem or paint a Warbler?

What’s the difference?

The first bird I saw out my window of my new home was to my absolute delight, a Townsend's Warbler. So it seemed like a great bird to put to page. The pencil work here.

The first bird I saw out my window of my new home was to my absolute delight, a Townsend’s Warbler. So it seemed like a great bird to put to page. The pencil work here.

I decided to do the Male/Female combo like my Grandpa's old bird guide. The pen work here.

I decided to do the Male/Female combo like my Grandpa’s old bird guide. The pen work here.

Great Horned Owl

I’ve had this one on my mind for a while. Until recently I never saw on the page what I did in my mind.

With the help of field time, some great literature, a stack of sketchbooks, and zero social life, I have found a foot hold on the uphill battle that I call owl portraits.

Sketches of Spain...except owls....and I was watching cartoons and I misplaced my Miles Davis CDs.

Sketches of Spain…except owls….and I was watching cartoons and I misplaced my Miles Davis CDs.

Like a lead in a detective case. While I'm far from having the nuances of the owl captured, I'm off to a good start. This is the motivation I hoped for going into a new year.

Like a lead in a detective case. While I’m far from having the nuances of the owl captured, I’m off to a good start. This is the motivation I hoped for going into a new year.

My birds of prey, one of the road maps of North America.

prairiefalconisfinished.jpg

redshoulderisfinished.jpg

Just finished the last bits on these two. I have a third piece drawn out in pencil but I cant start until these are done drying. three paintings this size drying takes my whole living/bike storage room.

closeuphawk.jpg

prairiefalconcloseup.jpg

I study them in California, but they connect me 2,000 miles east to the Illinois prairie remnants.