Wilson's Snipe

Wilson's Snipe
In Quiet Solitude

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Working on the Wolves, and a Taste of the Amazon

The last post featured a photo of the wolf painting that I sketched out. This week I found a few hours to lay down some foundations of paint.
 I put two coats of paint down and then added a few small tree trunks in the background after I built up a little bit of texture on the snow.
Even though the background is still rudimentary, it is time to lay down some foundational tones on the wolves. I should be working on it right now but I lack the motivation.
The last post featured a few previously unpublished photos of Los Charcos, Peru. This post will feature a taste of the Peruvian Amazon, including this photo of a Lesser Kiskadee in Iquitos.
After photographing the Lesser Kiskadee in the fountain on the Malecon in Iquitos, I turned 180 degrees and photographed the Amazon River. Large sections of Iquitos are built upon spindly stilts. For some reason I felt right at home in Iquitos.
I hopped on a rustic wooden boat and headed for an ecolodge upriver from Iquitos. The white box contains fresh groceries for the lodge.
Upon arrival to the lodge on the Cumaceba River, we transferred to dugout canoes and spent our days and evenings exploring the flooded forests. My poor back was in agony after only a few hours of sitting up on narrow wooden planks. This lasted for three days at this lodge, then three more days at another rustic lodge.
There were several exotic raptors that hung around the lodge hoping for table scraps, (fish guts) from the kitchen. This is a Roadside Hawk, patiently waiting on the thatched roof.
This bird seemed to know when feeding time was.
There were also several Yellow-headed Cara caras. The Roadside Hawk dominated them.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Last Painting, Next Painting,and Peruvian Beaches

This is what I have been working on for the last several weeks. It is finished for the time being. It is 11x14" and called, Fuzzy Friends. 
It has been a few years since I have painted wolves so yesterday and today I have been refining this 16x20" sketch. I intend to add a darkish forested background with deep snow in the foreground. If it all goes as planned, I will call it, Alpha Dogs. You can see by all of the smudges that I have been making many adjustments to get it to look right to my eyes.
To flesh out this post I will throw in some photos of my trip to Peru. All of these photos were taken around the small coastal town of Los Charcos.
Here is a bit of a gull identification challenge. What are these birds? The dark bird in the middle is only a pigeon and the other two are sub-adult Belcher's Gulls.
Two adult Belcher's Gulls, a Snowy Egret, and a Black-crowned Night Heron.
Another gull challenge. What are these? They certainly live up to their name, Gray Gulls.
What could these things be? Peruvian Thick-knees.
In my opinion, these are the coolest of all the world's tern species. Inca Terns. The area around Los Charcos was my favorite part of Peru. Better than Macchu Pichu, and better than the Amazon rain forest. Islas Ballestas, (where this photo was taken) is one of the world's great wonders, No one even knows about them.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fuzzy Progress

The title of this post refers to the progress that I am making on the Sea Otter painting which will probably have the word 'fuzzy' in the title. The painting is inspired somewhat by the otter photos that I got in Seward a few years ago. All of my other Sea Otter photos were taken from a greater distance than this guy.
I was in Seward on a Winter Audubon Society field trip. We were standing at the end of a stone jetty trying to spy on some distant sea birds, out in the bay. This young otter swam up to us, probably hoping for a handout. We had nothing to offer it.
The light was dim and I should have increased the camera's ISO but I got decent enough photos as it was.
A close up of the larger otter in the painting.
Another view.
The other otter is still in the preliminary stages.
The entire painting as it stands right now. I believe that the hardest parts of the painting are over with unless I decide to change the water behind the otters.
My friend Don sent me this photo yesterday. The story behind it goes like this; He was with his friend Lizzie and others when she found a freshly cast owl pellet. She thought it was owl poop so Don pulled it apart to the disgust and amazement of those who were present.
He explained that owls spit up the undigestable parts of their meals. This appeared to him to be the bones of a gopher.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Goodbye to Goose Creek

On Wednesday I accompanied my friend Dan to close up his cabin at Goose Creek for the season. We took a few minutes to check out the creek. That was where we saw this friendly Dipper with a bug in its beak.
It was soon scanning underwater for more tasty tidbits.
Dippers are one of the only local songbirds that sing an exuberant and complex song throughout the Winter.
Other non-North American species of Dipper tend to be more colorful. Nevertheless they are delightful to watch.
There was already ice forming along the edges of the creek.
I think that the really small leaves are actually Birch seeds.
This is a Black Cottonwood leaf.
On the way back we stopped to check out Mt. Mckinley which was barely visible.
 The deciduous trees have already lost most of their leaves.
Last night we had a fresh snowfall in the mountains above Anchorage.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

What to Paint Next?

Before getting around to showing photos of the current project, I will put up some random photos that happen to be in the same folder. Above is a bear paw print on the banks of the Eagle River.
I have posted this photo before but this is Sandy Quimby comparing her hand to the paw print of a truly massive Brown Bear along Eagle River.
A nearby Belted Kingfisher.
The Eagle River Valley in July.
The local Trumpeter Swans are currently staging for their eminent departure, as are most waterfowl. The local lakes will be frozen over in less than a month.
Although I do not enjoy painting Sea Otters, I know that it is about time to do a new painting of them. Why do I dislike painting them? Because I can never come up with an interesting composition for them. Like usual I just settled for cute, rather than creative. It will certainly sell if I can make myself paint it.
Before resigning myself to painting the Sea Otters, I came up with an alternative idea; Hudsonian Godwits. It is a less than brilliant composition as well. I would rather paint these birds than the Sea Otters. However this idea requires further development.
With a sigh of resignation I started laying down some paint to the otter painting. It is 11x14". We will see how it progresses.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Duck, Duck, Goose

My childhood friend Don sent this photo to me as an e-mail attachment. He titled the e-mail, 'Duck, Duck, Goose'. It was a good choice as a title because it fits the new painting well; as you will see.
I asked readers to imagine what combining the photo of Sandhill Cranes, and the ill-fated Canada Goose painting would look like. This is a literal interpretation of the idea. I should have stuck with that idea.
I did end up putting some Pintails in the background. This is an extreme close-up.
Most of them are sleeping.
The final version of the geese. I wish that I would have added finer brush strokes and more delicate detail to the geese.
The completed painting. It is 16x20". The actual painting has much richer colors than the photo indicates. (Typical for Blogger to fade the colors when I upload the photos)
So what happened to the cranes?
I sketched them out and started painting. Right away I realized that there was too much conflict between the cranes and the geese.  The painting was going to look too busy. The cranes had to go.
Now I repeat the title of the last post; How does this happen? 
I started out with the intention of painting waxwings. Then I changed the painting to Sandhill Cranes and decided to add Canada Geese in shadow to help frame the cranes. The cranes went away and were replaced by ducks.
My next painting is intended to be Sea Otters. It will probably end up as Giraffes, or who knows what?
Sept. 15th was the day that the Sea Lion Gallery in Homer closed for the season. Gary managed to sell this one last painting on that day. Remington Firearms put this painting on their 2014 Wildlife Calendar.
Gary sold more of my paintings in his gallery this year than he has in any other year. I have my work cut out for me to replace all those paintings for next year. Let's hope the trend continues.