hawk

Hawks of the World: Red Shouldered Hawk

Buteo lineatus.

Definitely one of my favorite birds to watch and paint. Found across eastern North America and along the California coast south into Mexico. Hunting from a perch and on the wing. They take a variety of prey, ranging from small mammals, birds, insects, snakes and occasionally fish.  Found in forested and open areas. Nests are built of branches in treetops at 35-50 feet up. They lay usually 3 eggs per clutch.

red shouldered hawks

RSHA map

Thanks a bunch for looking at birds with me. We covered this bird already here something like three years ago and I felt it was time to have another go at painting this bird as I’ve learned a lot since the last time. I’m glad I did, this was very fun to put together.

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Falcons of the World: Orange-breasted Falcon

Falco deiroleucus.
This falcon is found from southern Mexico south to northern Argentina. But only in small and sporadic locations.
It’s a medium sized falcon with incredibly strong talons for catching birds in flight.
It prefers tropical lowlands and evergreens. Its plumage resembles that of the smaller relative, Bat Falcon (Falco rufigularis). So much that it’s difficult for biologists to confirm reported sightings of the rare bird.
Next up is a trip back to Africa to look at the Spotted Eagle Owl. Bubo africanus.
Thanks for looking at birds with me.

Falcons of the World: Sooty Falcon

Sooty Falcon, Falco concolor.

This medium sized falcon is found from Northeastern Africa to the Southern Persian Gulf.
It belongs to the Hobby group, sometimes considered a subgenus, Hypotriorchis.
Which is a small group of similar falcons. The Sooty falcon is often confused with the Eleonora’s Falcon. Both are similar in color but vary in build. The Sooty falcon has a shorter tail and is suited to high speed pursuits.
It eats primarily migrating birds. Striking them to the ground and severing the spinal cord with a bite to the back of the head. Sooty Falcons will also take dragon flies, grabbing them with their talons then passing them to their beak, eating on the wing.
They nest on rocky ledges in scattered areas of the Libyan desert and adjacent parts of Egypt. Laying up to four eggs. Long distance migrators, they winter in Eastern Africa as far south as Madagascar.
sooty falcon range map
I really enjoyed this painting. It was a refreshing new challenge. Working with whites and yellows. Learning about shadows and finding their colors.
This painting was another good one for learning what I need to tackle the Snowy Owl.
A challenge I have been putting off until I can see it in my head right. This falcon helped me find that. But before we go that far North, I’m jumping over the Atlantic to look at the Orange-Breasted Falcon in Central and South America.
Thanks a bunch for looking at birds with me.

Falcons of the world: Madagascar Kestrel

This small and mighty falcon is about the same size as the American kestrel. It’s endemic to Madagascar and the atoll of Aldabra.
It prefers open country to forest, and has benefitted from deforestation, nesting under the eaves of homes in populated areas.
They usually still hunt from a perch. While they will take mice and small birds, insects comprise 75% of their diet.

Thank you for looking at and learning about these wonderful birds with me.

Rolling in ink.

I’ve been having lots of fun with some little linocut projects. Owls and Hawks mostly plus a few dinosaur sort of creatures. Its a bunch of fun, I really like the carving of the linoleum. It’s a slow but rewarding process. And so far I’ve kept the blade out of places it shouldn’t go, all 10 fingers still attached.

Stop making sense

And sometimes I stay up past midnight to finish a blue hawk. The Talking Heads fill my headphones and smiles ensue.

Penciled out on a 1'x2' piece of 1/8" plywood.

Penciled out on a 1’x2′ piece of 1/8″ plywood.

Rendered in pen in just under three hours.

Rendered in pen in just under three hours.

Mixing fluid acrylic blue with a matte medium and a slo-dri fluid retarder. Applied to the wood with scraps of an old t-shirt.

Mixing fluid acrylic blue with a matte medium and a slo-dri fluid retarder. Applied to the wood with scraps of an old t-shirt.

"She has the smoke in her eyes..."

“She has the smoke in her eyes…”

Getting by with a little help from my friends.

I’d been keeping all these in a big plastic box because I was too lazy to make mounts for them. I’d usually get as far as calling the piece done, snap a picture and add it to the pile. A good friend stopped by the other day to see some of my works. She suggested the plastic box might not be the best place for these birds. She recommended some good wall mounting options. Thus lighting the fire under me to get them truly finished.

Now that they’re up, I can’t imagine why I didn’t finish the wall mounts for them sooner. It was a great excuse to go to the hardware store.

I am very grateful to have the inspiring and supportive friends and family that I do….and a hardware store down the tracks from my house.

And a Thank You to whomever has squandered a perfectly good minute reading my words and looking at my birds.

With each passing moment.

I sat down for 5 hours with a piece of plywood today. While I sat several cameras captured the passing moments. With which I am planning another time-lapse video project. I had done the pencil work for this over the last few weeks. My recent trip to Hawk Hill in Marin County, CA. inspired me further to make this project come about. Today with a free afternoon and all my laundry done, I sat down to bring the myth to the page.

hawkfinished.jpg

A poem and a pencil drawing.

That was the summer our kite strings tanged up together.
The one that dragged me through the years and one hundred thistle patches to right here standing on your front porch.
No flowers in hand, just some dried Bull thistle stalk.
Standing before you, I can hear the years start to talk.
I’m lost without you I wish she would say,
truth being I can see without you clear as day.
Nothing echoes for tomorrows sake, no words from either of us.
My mind races towards the first fire escape, looking for a way through the red tape.
I’d rather be anywhere else, maybe in Chicago waiting for a bus, or East St. Louis waiting for a train.
but for this everlasting second staring into her eyes brings an unnerving sort of pain.
I could be in South Dakota, drinking a can of orange soda.
Or maybe a Laundromat in California, counting change, hoping my thoughts could re-arrange.
I look to my feet to curse whichever shoe, for bringing me here to stand before you.
My goodness though, the visions of our shared past.
An idea I knew could never last.
Laid on the desk and ignored until now,
once pausing to wipe the sweat from my brow.
And all the while under the eaves of your front porch.
Where we stood in this unending brief passage of our time together apart.