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Break Out of Your Shell and Fly

Lately I’ve been painting birds, trying to do them loosely but not very successfully. I get too involved in trying to make them look like what they are.

 

A Song Sparrow singing by the side of the road on my morning walk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This spring, a pair of Baltimore Orioles visited my Hummingbird feeder, bypassing the Oriole feeder that was also out. (The Hummingbirds use both feeders.) I put out some oranges and the female was very assertive in not giving up her place to the male.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I saw a large flock of Tree Swallows down at Grassy Bay just before the bugs got really bad. They flew too fast for me to get a picture of them flying but several of them rested on some reeds and I was able to get a photograph to paint.

 

Singing

I find black animals a challenge to paint. I took a photo of this Red-winged Blackbird a week or so ago.

I used Daniel Smith’s Goethite (Brown Ochre) for the initial wash of the bird as well as in the background. I’ve had this paint in my palette for awhile but haven’t really used it. It’s more black than brown, but I love the granulation. This version is pretty close to the photograph.

Birds of a Feather

The Iguassu Falls Bird Park in Brazil is located beside the National Park containing the falls. I photographed these two macaws when I visited some years ago.

I chose to paint this photograph because of the angles the birds made with their bodies, tails and wings. In my photograph the birds looked grey and black even with adjustments to the brightness. The little bit of turquoise that I could see on one of the bird’s head as well as the yellow eye and mustache enabled me to identify them as Hyacinth Macaws. Further investigations on the internet showed their true colours.

Heron

I always look for the heron whenever I drive or walk by Grassy Bay. He isn’t always easy to see, but  he always seems to be aware of me.

 

This watercolour was painted from a photograph taken during one of my early morning walks.

What is That?

This young fox was playing at the end of my driveway when it stopped to check out something in my yard.

 

He did catch something a few days later. I saw him as he trotted down the driveway with something in his mouth.

 

 

Out the Back Window

I have two suet feeders because a few years ago one disappeared a week after I put it out. I bought another one and the next spring I found the original one at the edge of the lawn. So I put both out. One at the front of the house and the other hangs just outside the dining room window at the back. The front one is more popular. The back gets most of its activity when the Hairy Woodpecker is occupying the one out front.

This Downy Woodpecker is a frequent visitor to both.

Deer Sketches

I’ve had quite a lot of deer visiting the cottage lately.  They come between 6 and 7  in the morning so I have to get up early to see them.  I used to I grab my camera when I saw them.  However  it’s still too dark for photos when they visit so I started leaving  my sketching kit by the window ready to go.

Deer sketches iin ink and watersoluble pencil

I have a deer block (food)  that is a few feet from the walkout of my cottage. I have to be very still as sometimes they can see me through the window. When they are at the block they are relatively still for a few minutes.

Ink sketches and watercolor sketches of deer Some will share the block, some won’t. They kick the others away with their front legs.

My bedroom window is right above the walkout. I moved my sketching kit up there. There’s not much light in the room that early in the morning and I didn’t want to take the time to turn on the light so some of the colours got a bit mixed up.

Sketches of Deer done in pen and watercolourI tried some of the sketches with just watercolour.  I can get get the basic shapes down a lot faster that way but I can make a mess a lot faster too.

Elegance

Brightly coloured birds in the sumac drew my attention.  These were the males. The females are more subdued in colour but more elegant. Female evening grosbeak in sumac - watercolorYou have to look harder to see them and when they are by themselves they are harder to identify. Fortunately this one was in a large flock of both male and female Evening Grosbeaks.

Harry

I haven’t had any turkeys visiting me this winter. Last winter there were three groups that came fairly regularly. Occasionally they all would be here at the same time. This is one of the turkeys of a group of three that visited the most often and continued into the spring and early summer. The first time I saw the group it consisted of 3 adult males. During the winter one of the males was replaced by a female. The other two groups were larger and consisted of juveniles. One group was usually all male (8-10) and the other a mixture (11-13).  I think there was some movement between the 2 groups.
watercolour portrait of a wild turkeyThe group of three came so often that they learned not to be afraid of me and I learned to distinguish between the two males. This is Harry.

 

 

Snowy Egret

Had some fun with the background on this one.  It’s from a photo from one of my travels.  In my sketchbook I have a very crude ink sketch of it standing in the water.  Fortunately I was able to grab the camera as it took flight.

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