raptors

Hawks of the World: Crested Goshawk

 

 

Accipiter trivirgatus

The Crested Goshawk is found in Southeast Asia. Their short, broad wings and long tails are adaptations for maneuvering through trees to pursue prey. They feed on birds, small mammals, and reptiles. The females are larger than the males and lay 2-3 eggs at a time.

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Here’s a time lapse edit of my project. Music: Grateful Dead 5/77.

Eagles of the World: Bateleur Eagle

The Bateleur Eagle, Terathopius ecaudatus is an interesting colored bird with a very short tail. Found in decreasing numbers across sub-Saharan Africa. They cover large territories of upwards of 250 square miles. They both hunt and scavenge on these vast expanses. Taking small birds and mammals as well as carrion. They seem to prefer snakes, and have developed very rough scaled feet to protect them from bites. 

Bateleur Eagles mate for life, and lay one egg per clutch. Eggs are incubated by the female for 42-43 days. While they are usually found in alone or in pairs, they have been spotted in groups of up to 20 birds. Their closest relatives are the Snake Eagles. 

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This is my first painting in my Raptors of the World series that I’ve completed since moving back to Illinois. I stretched this project out and enjoyed it. Spending the days between brush strokes with family and friends. I was also able to utilize the vast collection of birds at the Field Museum of Natural History.  Eagles have a hold on my imagination a lot lately. Next I’m going to look at Wedge-Tailed Eagles from Australia. 

Thanks for looking at birds with me. 

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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.

RTHA, Shedding light, not mastering.

A Red-tailed Hawk I came upon at work. Quite generous to hold still for me to play bird paparazzi.

A Red-tailed Hawk I came upon at work. Quite generous to hold still for me to play bird paparazzi.

It stayed in my thoughts on the bus ride home and when I got home I tried to put these thoughts to page.

It stayed in my thoughts on the bus ride home and when I got home I tried to put these thoughts to page.

I should mention I'm enjoying these softer pencils. Starting with B and getting into 8B in the end. Fun to smudge around and really work with. Until recently I've only ever used Bic mechanical pencils. Nothing wrong with them, but I'm feeling better results with these now.

I should mention I’m enjoying these softer pencils. Starting with B and getting into 8B in the end. Fun to smudge around and really work with.
Until recently I’ve only ever used Bic mechanical pencils. Nothing wrong with them, but I’m feeling better results with these now.

Pandion haliaetus. (Osprey to you and me).

The Osprey is an incredible hunter. Sometimes called “River Hawks” or “Fish Eagles”. Their primary food is fish, which they spot underwater from hundreds of feet above.  Diving feet first into the water. Their curved talons and rough textured feet help them grip the fish. And in just a few wing beats it’s out of the water and heading home for supper.
It was over the course of last week I put this together. However it's been on my mind for the last two and a half years.

It was over the course of last week I put this together. However it’s been on my mind for the last two and a half years.

They are surrounded in history with legend.  I too have a few good tales to tell that has an Osprey drawn into it.

One summer not long ago. In a cluster of Jack-pine not more than a mile from the shores of Lake Superior…

Going where the wind don’t blow so strange…

I went out for another adventure on two wheels this week. 23.6 miles of highway, gravel roads, and dirt/rock single track. Pedaling down the railroad tracks on my way home I met this great bird. Watching me with suspicion as I fumbled about for my camera.

I imagined a conversation between us as I tried to get a worthwhile shot with an ill-suited camera.

“You’re not from California are you?”

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“No I would reply, adding, I’m from Illinois, and I’d take a picture or three of an Illinois Hawk to so, that’s not a fair point”.

The Hawk flew away after I had snapped a few pictures and wasted the moment thinking about talking birds on telephone wires….again.

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Holding still.

That one summer I made all those hawk drawings.
 
Hiding from the drought with a glass of wine and a veil of feathers over her head.
 
She had a halo like a red-tailed hawk.
 
It could make me stop in midsentence.
 
Pulling the car to the curb 236 miles from Los Angeles.

Forgot to look at the sky…

I wish I could take you to where I was standing. The dirt under my shoes where I stood. Head tilted back. staring up at an open sky watching a single hawk fly.

Imaginations turned it into more, as imaginations will do.

Feathers are brushstrokes on the sky and I always forget to look at it.

What was the color?

I liken it to my consistent failure at remembering names of people I’ve just met.

“Althea? My name is Ben, It’s very nice to meet you…”

Electric guitar skies

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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.

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

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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.

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