White-faced Ibis (color)


White-faced Ibis. Even in basic plumage it is stunning. When we saw them in Merced NWR last weekend, I was so blown away by the assortment of reflective pinks, coppers and forest greens I knew that as soon as I had a free evening to attempt drawing it, I would. I was so taken with the deep saturated colors and iridescence, I lost interest in the left leg, and the feet… Maybe later.


White-faced Ibis (initial)


We’ve made eye contact, and the White-faced Ibis gives its permission to continue with the portrait. It looks strange now, being so pale. Eventually it will be very saturated deep copper and forest green. I’m more than a little afraid of the iridescence ahead… 

Wilson’s Snipe (final color)


The Wilson’s Snipe in full color. There are aspects to the final product I like, and just as many I wish could do all over again. Having totally messed up the greater and median coverts in an attempt to de-emphasize the color, I added liquid whiteout to the tips of the feathers to create the spots I had obscured… It’s a multimedia portrait in other words.

Wilson’s Snipe (initial)


Initial work on today’s Wilson’s Snipe portrait. Seems like I’ve abandoned the pale gray Prismatone for my preliminary blocking work, and settled on an old fashioned, ERASABLE NO.2 pencil. It may not allow the same kind of soft shading for the beginning stages, but I like the fact that it doesn’t stay permanently on my paper, highlighting my many errors… I’ve also noticed that it’s hard for me to continue on a drawing until the eye and face seem right—I like to see the bird looking at me before I go further. It’s like I need its permission to continue. Crazy, isn’t it?

Franklin’s Gull first-winter



Late last night I began the preliminary pencil work on a first-winter Franklin’s Gull. I realize there is much work remaining, including adjustments to wing shape and position… but I’m happy the general composition and the markings on the head. I look forward to refining it in the nights to come.