Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Secluded Snooze

Saw-whet owl sketch
A friend of mine called the other day to tell me he'd found a Northern saw-whet owl in a cedar tree in the cemetery, so taking a break from my competition piece I went looking for it. He'd given me directions to the tree and said it would be easy to locate the owl, just look for the droppings and pellets.
Well, he was right about that, but actually seeing the owl was another matter entirely. It was obvious the little bird had been roosting there for some time as there were several pellets on the ground and a good deal of whitewash. I carefully and quietly walked around the tree looking with and without binoculars, but it took me awhile to find the bird. Directly above the whitewash was the owl tucked up inside a mass of cedar boughs and all but invisible unless you knew where to look. And this is all I could see....
Snoozing saw-whet
The owl had tucked his face down into his wing and the boughs enveloped it like a security blanket. I watched it for several minutes and took some poor photos and it never raised it's head. All that was really visible was the top of it's head, a portion of wing and the foot that gripped the branch it sat on. 
The view from below.
 It would have been nice to see it's face as saw-whets can be extremely cute. They are small owls about 8 inches long and though they can be cute make no mistake, they are as fierce as their larger cousins. Here's a photo of a more cooperative one from a few years ago.
Northern saw-whet owl
Lots of cuteness here!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


At work in my studio

Weeks have gone by since my last post. In fact, the holidays have come and gone, we're in a new year and, according to the groundhog, spring is on it's way. I have hardly noticed the time passing in the past month or so because I have been focusing all my free time on a painting.
Several months ago I received a notice for a certain competition and I decided to enter it. The deadline was quite a way off so I had time to ponder my design and gather reference material. Then the task began to make some sketches and see if my designs would work. Once the design was decided I did a few color studies before starting the actual painting. Then the real challenge began. It seems I did just fine when it was for practice, but for some reason as soon as I moved to the real piece nothing was coming out as I had envisioned. I started over three times before the background color seemed right for my idea and I could move on to the next part.
Part of the painting includes a hunting dog, a Chesapeake Bay retriever to be exact. Of course, my Balin gets to be featured in this painting because that's the kind of dog he is. Unfortunately, I can't show you more of my progress just yet because I don't want to tip my hand to my competition. The painting needs to be done by March and judging takes place in April so I have to leave you all in suspense until then. But I thought you might enjoy a sneak peak to keep you interested and let you know I'm still here painting away. I'm just too focused on this to do much else.