Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Successful Hunt

Our resident Juvenile Red Tailed Hawk proved his hunting prowess today. He perched on a post with a bird he had caught. Tearing it to bits between talons and beak, the victim was consumed in less than 15 minutes. The hawk accidentally dropped a portion of the entrails onto a lower part of the post and took a minute to figure out how to hop down there to scavenge it without falling. He also spent some time scraping all the crevices of the post to ensure that every scrap was eaten. The only parts discarded were some of the feathers that were plucked off and tossed into the wind. He stayed on the post for over an hour preening and, no doubt, digesting.
This sketch was done from my photos. I started with the watercolor pencils, then added some paint.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

New neighbor on the block

Juvenile Red Tail, Colored Pencil

My neighbors are fun to watch, I have my binoculars out all the time. No, don't go rushing off to call the police - I'm talking about wildlife! My immediate neighborhood is blessed with all kinds of animal residents. We have a doe and fawn that live under our deck. There are also four young bucks which we see roaming around. Birds are here in abundance. We have four or five hummingbirds, with one male who has claimed our feeder and defends it against all comers with typical fiestiness. The Orioles also like the feeder. We have a scrub jay to likes to bathe in our fountain.

Hawk sketch with water added
Over the last few days we've been hearing a hawk squawking up and down the valley. I spotted it on a telegraph pole outside our dining room window, so I snapped some photos of it before a mockingbird drove it away. Hawks are never welcome guests and mockingbirds especially go to great lengths to harass them until they leave. This was a juvenile Red Tail and I'm guessing it's squawking was to attract the attention of its parents and get some food. My photos came out well so I might compose a painting from them. For starters I did a sketch. I found some soluble colored pencils when cleaning up my studio, so I tried them out on this drawing. The first image is the pencil sketch, the second is after I put some clean water on it to see what would happen. Interesting. The colors are very limited, but they might be nice to sketch landscapes with.

My other sketches are of the doe relaxing in our mulch.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Five Wounds Church, Alum Rock

Today's challenge was the beautiful Portugese Catholic church on East Santa Clara St. It is a replica of the Braga Church in Portugal, completed in 1919 and built in the style of Baroque Revival architecture. My knowledge of architecture is minimal so I'm not sure what that means. Suffice to say it is a gorgeous white church with tall arched towers capped by red domes, lots of wild perspective, and enough twiddly bits to drive you crazy! We had a good turnout again (13 people) which is amazing considering we had to sit on the street and contend with the traffic whizzing by and regular buses belching their exhausts next to us!
My first sketch was done on the edge of the sidewalk so that I could direct artists to the parking when they arrived. I selected a spot where most of the church was hidden behind a tree (a cunning plan!). I wasn't paying 100% attention to what I was doing but I think it worked out well enough for all that!
Next I went across the road to get a better view of the whole building and decided to paint on a postcard. I bought this little pad of postcards at the weekend when I visited the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento (love this art museum). Anyway, the postcard worked out pretty well. It must be the smallest thing I have ever painted - although strictly speaking it is more of a drawing with a little paint daubed on it!
Feeling pleased with my drawing I then moved on to draw the L & F Fish Market at the junction with 101. Then after lunch I moved to the other side of the intersection and sketched the 101 on ramp.