Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays!

May you and yours have a joyous holiday season and a wonderful 2010, wherever you are. Thank you for your interest and support of my art and for following along this past year.

Till next year...

Hornbill Continued...and a Visitor

Here's what the hornbill looks like this morning as it sits on my desk. I finished up the skin around the throat area last night so I'm all done with the wrinkly skin...YAY! Now I can move on to the feathers. There's still some more work to be done on the bill as well.

I love painting birds and animals in snow. After the beautiful snowfall we had here in MD the other day, I could not resist snapping some photos of songbirds right outside my kitchen window. Perhaps they will end up in some future paintings. A couple of my cardinal paintings were done from reference taken right from my kitchen window. After shooting many photos, and I was about to call it quits, the birds scattered all of the sudden and I knew one of our resident hawks must be nearby. Sure enough, a young Cooper's hawk flew into one of our azalea bushes after a bird. He came up empty (poor thing) and then perched atop the birdfeeder for a few minutes shaking his tail. I snapped away! What a beautiful bird. I will definitely paint a study of him. Raptors will always hold my fascination.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hornbill WIP continued

Since the last post, I locked in on finishing the eye area. The eye, lashes, and wrinkles are now completed. This was a slow, tedious process; the wrinkles were time consuming and the lashes were painted one by one. Painted at this size, shadows and highlights are apparent on the lashes. I paid attention to rounding the shadows as they wrap around the lashes. I've since moved down to the throat area which you can see the start of.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Small Works - Big Impressions Exhibition 2009 Online Catalog

The Society of Animal Artists "Small Works - Big Impressions" Show & Sale held annually at The Wildlife Experience in Parker, CO is now viewable online in this comprehensive online catalog. If you see something you like, contact The Wildlife Experience. There's still time for Christmas delivery! Yours truly has 2 paintings in the show on pages 107 and 108.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New WIP - Southern Ground Hornbill

This is my latest on the easel. It is a watercolor of a Southern ground hornbill that I photographed at the Philadelphia Zoo. These are the largest species of hornbills and they hail from Southern Africa. I am depicting the bird larger-than-life on a full sheet of Strathmore 300 lb. paper. I thought it would be fun to paint this bird with all its wonderful details up close and personal: the wrinkles of its skin patches, the long eyelashes, and all the lovely worn textures on its beak. What character this bird has! This is my progress so far:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Finished - Osprey Painting

The osprey is finished (I think). I'm going to set this one aside for awhile and determine if it needs any tweaking. I thought I'd be finished with it yesterday, but I just wasn't quite satisfied with the water beneath the osprey so I worked on it another 4 hours this morning. It improved thank goodness! I apologize that the photos are not the greatest, but for the meantime these will have to do...I will post a better photo when I get one. Hope you like it!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Update on Osprey Painting

Sorry for the late update on this piece. We finally had some sunshine today, so I was able to take a photo of it outside. Since the last post, I've been building up layers of colors, texture, and detail all over the painting. I've been experimenting with a palette knife on the osprey; I really like the textural effects it created on the body of the bird. I think I will add a little of this texture to the stump as well. I'm debating sawing off an inch or so from the top of the painting; I think the composition will look better with the osprey a little closer to the top. What do you think?

Here's what it looks like as of yesterday:

Monday, October 19, 2009

New WIP - Osprey Oil Painting

Well, here is finally an image of what I've been working on these days, an osprey with his catch in oil. This is the largest painting I've ever worked on at 16 x 36. I observed this osprey back in the spring at the Blackwater NWR in Maryland. This male was part of a pair that was nesting on the refuge. I watched him diligently bring fish to his mate. This time, he was saving this one for himself. I photographed him after tearing the head off the fish and flying in to land on the old stump sticking out of the water; a nice spot to eat his fish.

Don't be alarmed by the red...it is just primer. I've experimented from time to time with red primer after a workshop I took many years ago with then local artist Caroline Jasper. I believe she has since moved to Florida. She always starts her paintings with bright red canvas. The red underneath makes the colors seem more vibrant and creates neat visual effects when some of the red is left to peek through. I thought the red underpainting may work well for this piece, since I want this piece to be warm and vibrant.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

October visit to Blackwater NWR & Chincoteague NWR (cont.)

From Blackwater, we traveled an hour and a half to Chincoteague NWR. The weather turned much cooler with the rain on the way, but we warmed up riding our bikes around. We saw many birds here as well. The snow geese were just starting to arrive. Here's just a few images from my 2 days spent at Chincoteague:

A juvenile black-crowned night heron.

The endangered Delmarva fox squirrel.

The tiny Sika deer.

Great Egret hunting.

The famous Chincoteague ponies that run wild on the island.

Evening on the refuge; the Assateague Lighthouse is in the distance.

October visit to Blackwater NWR & Chincoteague NWR

Earlier this week, I visited a couple of my favorite local birding spots - Blackwater NWR in Cambridge, MD and Chincoteague NWR in VA. Depending on what season you visit, one can see many different species of birds nesting, migrating through, or wintering over. My husband and I had planned on taking our kayaks with us to paddle Blackwater's trails, but with rain looming in the forecast, we just opted to take our bikes instead which proved to be a great way of touring the refuges and observing the wildlife. At Blackwater, the marsh was in bloom, painted and red-bellied turtles were basking, and bald eagles were abundant everywhere on the marsh. Here's just a few photos (of many) I took of the eagles:

A favorite snag overlooking the marsh.

A bald eagle flying off with his catch.

A beautiful banded garden spider on one of the bird boxes.

Biking around Blackwater.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Finished - Barn Owl watercolor

Presenting Barn Owl. I finished this one up this morning. Hope you like it! Stay tuned for the start of a new large painting of an osprey that I've been excited about doing for some time. It should be an ambitious project for me...

Barn Owl, watercolor, 5 x 7

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fungus Among Us

Yesterday, my husband Jimmy returned from a walk in the park and insisted that I needed to see this awesome fungi he had spotted. He told me exactly where to look, so this morning I took a little break from painting and went to investigate this fungus. My loyal buddy Max joined me. Max found it right away. Here he is all happy he found it for me. Good boy Max!

Jimmy was right, it was an interesting fungus. I've never seen one like it before. Does anyone know what kind it is?

Here's a closeup. Lovely isn't it?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Latest Progress - Barn Owl

Here's the latest progress after a day of painting today. I'm enjoying painting the beautiful abstract patterns in the plumage, but I have to be careful to make sure the pattern is flowing in the right direction so as to follow the owl's form correctly.

Monday, September 21, 2009

New WIP - Barn Owl in watercolor

Here's a little 5 x 7 watercolor study of a barn owl I started recently. As I typically do with these intimate studies, I started with the eye first and radiated outwards. The facial area is pretty much done here. I laid in an abstract drippy wash for the background letting a mixture of Payne's gray, burnt sienna, and some violet mingle together and do its thing. I spattered some of this mixture on too with an old stiff brush.

Finished - Pronghorn painting

So sorry for my long abscence from the blog. As some of you know, I was recently laid off from my day job so I've been busy with the hassles of filing for unemployment and looking for a new job, which seems to be a job in itself. Wish I was able to support myself on my paintings alone, but it's just not possible right now. Ahh...someday. Until then, I'll keep working hard and do what I have to do. Ok, enough of this downer stuff about being unemployed...You may remember I was working on a painting of a pronghorn...well, here it is all finished! Hope you like it!

Presenting Resting Pronghorn...

Resting Pronghorn, acrylic on panel, 11 x 20

Resting Pronghorn (detail)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Heading off

I'm heading off to Kansas tomorrow for this weekend's big opening festivities for the Society of Animal Artists Art and the Animal exhibition. Should be a fun time. I am looking forward to viewing the beautiful art, seeing my friends, and meeting fellow members. Speaking of the show, in this month's Western Art Collector magazine, they have written a nice article about the show and I was honored that my piece was included as part of the write-up. I've included the article below.

Monday, August 31, 2009

American Art in Miniature 2009

Winter Beauty - Cardinal has been selected for the Gilcrease Museum's American Art in Miniature 2009 show & sale. This year marks my third appearance in this popular show that benefits the Museum’s educational and public programs.

American Art in Miniature
October 24 - November 8, 2009
Reception & Sale: November 5, 2009
The Gilcrease Museum
Tulsa, OK

Winter Beauty - Cardinal, acrylic on panel, 8 x 10

Saturday, August 29, 2009

WIP - Update on the Pronghorn

Work continues on the pronghorn. This is the lastest as of yesterday. I need to finish up his legs and rump area so I can start to overlap the grasses over him. I'm trying to keep the grasses somewhat loose but it still takes many layers of adding darks and lights to make them look right.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Small Works~Big Impressions

I received word that 2 of my works will be included in the 3rd Annual Society of Animal Artists Small Works – Big Impressions show and sale. The pieces are Tufted Titmouse and Red-legged Honeycreeper. The show will run November 7th, 2009 thru January 3rd, 2010 at The Wildlife Experience in Parker, CO.

Tufted Titmouse, oil on linen, 8 x 10

Red-legged Honeycreeper, oil on cradled panel, 12 x 6

Friday, August 14, 2009

New WIP - Pronghorn

Here is the latest painting on the easel; a pronghorn in acrylic, size 11 x 20. I observed this handsome male pronghorn resting one early summer morning while visiting the National Bison Range in Montana a few years ago. It's a wonderful place to observe pronghorn and other wildlife native to the area. The scenery isn't too bad either! This is one of those paintings I've had stirring in my mind for awhile, knowing I was going to paint it, but just never getting around to it. Now's finally the time...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Red-legged Honeycreeper Oil Painting

Finally, here is the finished image of the male red-legged honeycreeper. Sorry it took so long to post. The blues in the painting were very difficult to photograph. I took it to get professionally scanned and it took them some tweaking as well to get the colors just right. This piece is painted on a 12 x 6 Ampersand 2" cradled Gessobord, so it will not need to be framed. These cradled panels have a nice contemporary feel to them. I hope you like it.

Red-legged Honeycreeper, oil on 12 x 6 Ampersand 2" cradled Gessobord

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bosque Art Classic Preview

The entire 2009 Bosque Art Classic is now available for previewing in an online gallery. My piece Driftwood Perch is located under the watercolor category.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Update 2 on Female Cardinal Painting

Today's work. Still working on the branches. Refining needles, pinecones, and other details at this point. As I usually tend to do, I will save the remaining work on the bird for last. It's kind of like a reward to myself after finishing my backgrounds. I'm really hoping to finish this one up this weekend. The deadline looms and the outdoors are calling :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

News - "Driftwood Perch" Selected for National Exhibition

I received notification that my watercolor Driftwood Perch has been accepted into the 24th Annual Bosque (formerly Conservatory) Art Classic in Clifton, Texas. This year, over 975 entries were received - the largest entry year yet. This is my first time entering the exhibit and I am very happy to be a part of it!

The show opens at the Bosque Arts Center September 12, 2009 and runs for two weeks, closing September 27th.

The opening night reception and awards presentation is Saturday, September 12. Reservations are required.

Over $14,500 in awards are offered in several categories. Joshua Rose, Editor of Western Art Collector Magazine, is this year's judge.

Driftwood Perch, watercolor, 20 x 14.5

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday, July 6, 2009

New WIP - Female Cardinal

I started this new painting over the holiday weekend. It will be my entry for the Gilcrease Museum's popular American Art in Miniature show & sale. The show's rules stipulate that paintings must be 9x12 or smaller. This one measures 8x10 and I am using acrylics. Cardinals are frequent visitors to my feeder and I am especially attracted to the females coloration of gold, red, and olivey green. I find them more interesting to paint than the males. I am using reference I shot back in the winter when we had a light snowfall. I threw up the window in our kitchen and shot away. The house makes for a lovely blind! We have a large hemlock tree near the feeder where the birds fly back and forth from when feeding. I love its willowy branches and its little pinecones. It makes a lovely backdrop for a cardinal especially with snow sprinkled on its needles. Hard to resist painting that!

You're probably wondering if I ever finished the red-legged honeycreeper...well, I did finish it but I need to take it to get photographed. I figured I'd wait until I got it professionally scanned before I post it. I tried taking my own photo, but I cannot seem to get a decent photo of it. So, stay tuned. I'll post it in the next couple of weeks!

Monday, June 22, 2009

New WIP - Red-legged Honeycreeper Oil Painting

Here's the start of my latest painting - a male red-legged honeycreeper. This piece will measure 12 x 6. These small birds are members of the tanager family. Males are a brilliant violet-blue with turquoise crowns and the females are green. I'm using reference from my incredible trip last year to Trinidad. The Society of Animal Artists awarded me with the Don Eckelberry Scholarship Award allowing me to travel to the Asa Wright Nature Center to observe first-hand the many beautiful birds found there. It was truly a bird lover's paradise! I'm so thankful to the SAA for awarding me with this wonderful experience. I hope to return again someday. I feel somewhat guilty that I am just now getting the chance to finally do some paintings inspired from that trip, but other painting commitments just kept me from starting. Better late than never I guess. I'm experimenting with loose brushwork in the background leaves while keeping the bird in tight detail. Please let me know what you think in the comments.