Hawks and flowers.

My father and I share bird reports regularly, he’s been sharing sightings of sharp-shinned hawks diving for birds at his feeders and in the field next door in Illinois.  That’s had me wanting to work one into a pen drawing for a while. The prairie piece was the perfect fit.


The compass Plant is finished too, I ran some numbers and there are roughly 10,000 lines in the large bloom alone.  Drawing Illinois plants in a room 2,300 miles west.


He not busy being born is busy dying….

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.




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



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.



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


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.

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.