Friday, June 5, 2015
We were given a new drawing prompt every day in May. These were mundane objects that could easily be found and drawn at home.
We posted our daily drawings on the Every Day in May Facebook page. So fun to see how people from all over the world interpreted the same prompt. My objective in doing this exercise? To incorporate a daily creativity habit. I think it's working . . . so far.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
I attended Dave Quady's Audubon Owl ID field trip this past weekend and observed a pair of Northern Spotted Owls! As the sun set, we studied a male and a female owl at close range through scopes and binoculars for nearly an hour. I sat down on the trail and made these small paintings, which I overworked later at home.
Perched on a bare redwood branch nearly at eye level, the male Spotted Owl slowly swiveled his head, watching us as we observed him. A pattern of concentric dark and white feathers gave his dark eyes a deep-set appearance. He settled on his perch, fluffed up his feathers and urped up a bolus that dropped to the forest floor.
The male Spotted made a few calls, described by Dave as "a rising series of barks followed by one or two 'whoo' notes," and began vocalizing more regularly at sunset. In response, the female Owl uttered a "single rising whistle plus short, quieter whistles." The male flew to the female and they mated (if you blinked, you missed it). The male then flew silently away and out of sight, and I fought the urge to stand and applaud.
Unfortunately, a few shutter-snapping marauders have done some pretty unethical things in the pursuit of a good Spotted Owl photograph. Because of these knuckleheads, we're sworn to secrecy about the location of this rare sighting.
Finally, here's a Spotted Owl that I painted last year in the studio. Much more exciting to paint from live birds on location (and more challenging)!
Monday, February 2, 2015
Learning a lot and having a blast hanging out with other raptor enthusiasts in the Audubon Society's California Raptors Class led by Eddie Bartley of the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory.
On Sunday's field trip to Rush Ranch and Jepson Prairie near Rio Vista, spotting scopes on tripods gave me a great opportunity to sketch from live birds. The most exciting moment was discovering a Great-horned Owl snoozing (with one eye open) above our picnic table lunch at Rush Ranch. He sat there for hours.
Later in the day I saw my first Ferruginous Hawk sitting on the ground in the sunshine and two Burrowing Owls hanging out near, and in, their ground burrow. I sketched in waterproof ink onsite and added watercolor later at home at the kitchen table.
Monday, October 27, 2014
This coincides with the California Raptor Show at the Coastside Land Trust gallery from November 7 through February 13. My American Kestrel and Elf Owl paintings will be in the show. The artists' reception is on Friday, November 7th from 5-8:00 p.m.
What a great weekend to migrate to Half Moon Bay!
Last Friday, Karen and I made our first sighting of Sibley's resident Golden Eagle, hovering in the wind in the Kestrel's airspace. Courageous Kestrel, much smaller than the Eagle, flew repeated sorties from above, forcing the Eagle to hunt elsewhere.
American Kestrel: 8 - 12" body length
20 - 24 inch wingspan
3 - 6 ounces in weight
Golden Eagle: 27 - 33" body length
5 to 7 foot wingspan
6 to 13.5 pounds in weight
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Then there's the Common Raven, never more, in a much less animated pose.
David Sedaris, humorist, author and frequent contributor to PRI's This American Life and The New Yorker magazine relates his experience buying a Valentine's Day gift at a London taxidermy shop -- my kinda guy. (see link below)