Monday, June 10, 2013

Pelican Profile

I decided to do one more Pelican.  I had taken this photo quite a while ago--a Brown Pelican in breeding plumage.  The thing that interested me this time was the contrast between very bright and very dark.  The fiery orange of the feathers on the back of his neck jump out against the blackness of the background.  The Pelican transitions from sharp detail to almost disappearing into that dark space.  This is a small piece--only 12" x 9" unframed.

Old Oak with Downy Woodpeckers

I spent quite a few months on this latest painting.  My initial idea was of the tree, and I thought a lot about painting just the tree--for once no bird.  But it's a funny thing: it just wasn't right without adding the bird.  Here there are two Downy Woodpeckers.  The red speck on the back of the head of the male is the only bright spot, and the female is almost hidden.  This painting is in the same style as my previous painting, Nuthatches in Pepper Tree.  It's a variation on the Japanese woodblock nature prints, with the mottled gold background and the graphic outlining of the Oak tree.    

I think a lot about my choice to paint birds.  It probably limits my appeal to the main stream art market, but on the other hand, it is also the one subject that makes me feel a passion for what I paint.  I guess if I have to choose, I'll take the passion.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fall Events

It's been a busy fall.  My painting "Scrabble" was selected for the annual juried exhibition of Birds in Art, at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Musuem in Wausau Wisconsin.  This show is a very BIG deal, and I was happy to be a part of it this year.  My painting sold during the exhibition.  Birds in Art continues through November.

I just completed this California Quail--a small piece that was part of a benefit auction for the Woodson Museum during the opening weekend of Birds in Art.  Proceeds from the auction go towards future art purchases by the Museum.  

It's funny how sometimes the simplest paintings can be the most complicated.  I started this piece as two Quail--a male and female.  Both were positioned on a block, with clouds in the background and a blue square all around them.  But it didn't feel right.  So first I eliminated the clouds, then the second quail just didn't feel right, then the block went, and finally I decided to just keep the single male quail.  Sometimes simple is better.  I hope to have a limited edition print of this piece soon.

Finally, my painting Nuthatches in a Pepper Tree is included in the Society of Animal Artists 52nd Annual Exhibition at the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum in Oradell New Jersey.  The show opened on October 1st and continues through December 31, 2012.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

King's Move

"King's Move" is another painting in my exploration combining birds with human games or toy. Taking the birds out of their natural environment has been a stimulating way to push my creative thinking into new directions, while still keeping my primary focus on the birds.

The bird here is an American Kestrel, not really playing the game, but a participant.  The concept was quite vivid in my mind as I developed the composition, and I enjoyed working with the juxtaposition of elements.  Most of the time, my final painting ends up pretty different from the original concept floating in my mind.  This time the concept and the finished piece felt very similar.  

I am not a chess player, but I didn't want to make a mistake in placing the chess pieces on the board.  I found a website that illustrates the play-by-play of famous chess matches.  This match was played by Alexander Kotov against Ratmir Kholmov in 1967.  I don't know who won.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012


A new piece.  I enjoyed perching the bird, this time a male House Finch, on top of the scrabble tile.  It took a while to figure out the right object to put him on.  The red border was applied with a house paint roller,and the edge defined by blue masking tape.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I wanted to paint yellow.  And I had an image of an American Goldfinch that I have been trying to use for a long time.  But I knew I needed something else to make the bird image work with the yellow square.  I think I came up with the children's blocks as a way of linking the little bird with a human experience.  I always seem to be looking for ways to connect the birds I care about to the world that we live in.

This is the first of a series.  I have four more colors I would like to paint.