Sanhill Crane Quartet

Sanhill Crane Quartet
OIl on 18x24 inch canvas

Friday, June 29, 2018


I had fun creating this fluffy, larger-than-life Kingfisher. I began with a drawing on a beige toned, sanded pastel paper. I ordered this paper three years ago, used it a few times and set it aside. Now it is my favorite pastel paper. 

After filling in the tree branch with pastel I painted the background with two shades of chalk pastel and alcohol. I'm still not sure if I like this process. 

Next I blocked in all the colors of the bird with chalk pastel. I'm using Sennelier Parisian collection. One hundred and twenty half sticks of beautiful color.

My next step aS coloring in the eye and beak with pastel pencils. And continued to work on the branch here and in the next image.

Now.  I'm going back to the Kingfisher, using Derwent pastel  pencils to create the illusion of feathers.

 Voila!  The portrait is complete.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

American Bald Eagle

My most recent project, The American Bald Eagle is similar to another I did last year but the profile is slightly different.  I guess I really like the eagle in profile. That beak is magnificent. Prints and more are available through Fine Art America if you're interested.  The original is 12 x 9 inches executed with soft pastels on sanded pastel paper.  

I started this painting differently than I usually do.  I had intended all along to paint the clouds in first and then the eagle over them. What I changed was the way I treated the clouds.  I laid out the sky first and then blended it with isopropel alcohol.  

Once dry I painted on the clouds with the soft pastels and used the alcohol to blend them onto the background.

I added gray to the clouds and then repeated the process of blending with a brush and alcohol. 

Once ready I drew in the eagle and began work on the beak. This time I used no alcohol, only the chalk pastels and pencils. I like the way he's peaking through the clouds and, for a second, considered pursuing that approach. But I didn't. As you'll see in the following images, I used the pencils to build his head and face and then his shoulders.

At this point I'm ready to truly build up and better define the feathers and touch up the beak. 

I added French gray and Naples yellow to the area around the face as well as better defining the feathers with Titantium white.

I worked on the beak for finer detail. I though it was done. I signed it. I was wrong.

Still not done......

Voila. This bird of prey is focused. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Yellow Billed Hornbill

This portrait of the yellow Billed Hornbill, a bird from South gAfrica, was painted with pastel on 9x12 sanded pastel paper. The following images are the start of this piece.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Toucan etc al

I've recently returned to working with soft pastels and pastel pencils and a year of trying new media and reacquainting myself with others. In the end I find I prefer this combination of drawing and pastel painting to all other forms of two dimensional art. This doesn't mean I'll never paint with oils or acrylics or water color or intense or that I'll never draw with colored pencils or graphite pencils. It just means I like to use pastels the best. And, I've had a wonderful and rewarding time getting back into them. This is my most recent piece, the Toucan.  I have been using both chalk pastels and pencils in my of my recent works but I used only pencils in Toucan. The 9 x 12 inch paper is sanded pastel paper tinted green. I have no idea why, while my photo shows green background, the images on this page show gray but the other colors are perfect. Toucan, along with my other work, is available at Fine Art America.

Just follow the images down to see the progression of painting and the Toucan grew.  After the Toucan are images of my recent pastel paintings for your viewing pleasure. They are all done on 9 x 12 sanded pastel paper. Enjoy and thank you for visiting,

Shorebird at Belleaire Beach


Heron on the River

Ibis at Belleaire Beach