Thursday, September 30, 2021


 From this stage, you can see what intrigued me so much with this bird's behavior. The loon has grabbed a tiny crab. Since all the loons I have seen prior to this one were in fresh water, I never thought of crustaceans as part of their diet.

Usually I start with the head of a bird and work outward. On this painting I began by painting the parts of the loon touching the water. This helped me "settle" the bird in the scene.

Saturday, September 25, 2021



When working to paint the bird's underwater feet, I find myself thinking my brush is under the surface of my painting board. It is a strange illogical illusion since I know perfectly well there is no "under the surface" to my gessoed board. 

Okay, so we have a bird in the water. Doesn't seem that unusual or something I might not have seen before. It is what the bird is doing that intrigued me and caught my attention.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Playing with water

                                 I've added some more of the lighter water before I start blending. 

Once I blended the two main colors, the water didn't look like it had enough depth. I mixed a deeper richer mid-tone and brushed it in throughout before starting on the lower section of water.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Should I paint it?

Every now and then I see a scene so beautiful or interesting that I say to myself, "I can't paint that. No one would believe it." The sunset from our deck is too intense, or the clouds look just like an elephant, or the color of the water is too neon.

Much more common for wildlife artists is seeing a unusual animal behavior in the wild and trying to decide whether to paint it. 

Some of the questions I ask myself are:

1.) Is this a one-time event or something that happens but I haven't seen it before?

2.) Does it tell a new story and maybe advance understanding of the species for others?

3.) Will it make for a good painting and resonate with people?

Four years ago I saw something I hadn't seen before. I starting thinking more about this bird which previously I had only watched on bodies of fresh water. It is time to bring the memory of that encounter to "life."

For water I like to start with the dark shapes first.
Here I have blocked in some of the lighter areas of the water.