Living in rural east central Illinois I see my fair share of red-tailed hawks along the interstate and country roads, but there are two other birds of prey that I see often and are more exciting - American kestrels and northern harriers. I recently illustrated an American kestrel perched as I always see them. I seldom see northern harriers perched but I often see them almost motionless hovering over fields looking for prey. It is an amazing sight to see how they are able to almost stop and float - I wanted to try and capture this image.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Most of the time I like to draw birds and other subjects without a background, I prefer the crisp edges and it is much faster. I decided to try and put a very Spring-like background behind this Northern parula. The bird is almost all done in colored pencil while the background is almost all watercolor. Below are some in-progress photos.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
I have always admired the work of Charley Harper and blogged about my first attempt to paint in his style here. This time I had the idea to do a series of animals in the style of Harper where each canvas represented a letter of the alphabet. I started by painting eight canvases to create my son's name - Sullivan. Each canvas is 6"X6" and these are in acrylic. Here is a scan of the letter N and a couple pictures of the eight paintings on the wall.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
I was recently asked by an employee of the Grand River Conservation Authority if I could provide some illustrations of hickory fruit for an educational sign to be placed on their property. I have been fortunate to work for three different organizations in the past and all have had missions that included environmental education so I am familiar with the process of putting these signs together and need to do it on a budget. I have never been to the Grand River Conservation Authority, but as a crow flies it is not very far from The Holden Arboretum where I most recently worked so I am familiar with the forests of the region. If you would like to see these hickory illustrations and more check out my posts on hickory fruit and hickory twigs.
Friday, January 25, 2013
I have been wanting to do another bird illustration and almost everyday as I drive down county road 1100 I am inspired by an American kestrel perched in a fence row. I finally got around to doing the drawing. It is roughly 12"X12" and all colored pencil.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
I have been meaning to do this drawing for awhile and actually started it in July right after these orchids flowered in June in a fen in Northeast Ohio. While I worked in Ohio I was responsible for monitoring this population of showy lady slippers (Cypripedium reginae) on an annual basis. Showy lady slipper flowers are about the size of a chicken egg making them one of the largest of the native orchids - it is also covered with hairs that can cause poison ivy-like dermatitis on some people. I never had an issue with orchid hairs but I have with the poison sumac (Rhus vernix) that shares the same habitat. Besides the poison sumac the fen was always a very enjoyable place to spend the day counting orchids and botanizing. Also in this illustration are two sedge species Carex leptalea (3 flowering culms) and Carex interior (1 flowering stem) that are commonly found with the orchids.
This is 16"X20" and done with Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils - I had to scan it in four pieces and splice them together resulting in some inconsistencies in color.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
In October I switched from using Crayola to Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils - you can see that post here. I first bought the 25th Anniversary set and then added as many greens and browns to my collection. I was very happy with these pencils and asked for the rest of the colors for Christmas. I received a bunch from my mother a bunch from my sister-in-law and some from my wife and now have 117 of the 120. I am very excited to start the new year.