Saturday, June 30, 2012

Doctor, doctor, gimme the news

The national bird of Jamaica, the Doctor Bird -- aka the swallow-tail hummingbird. The males have two, long-flowing tails.
First, the charcoal sketch -

Next, washes of color, the hot mess --

Then more layers of paint -

 I'm actually pretty pleased with it at the stage but you can still see traces of my charcoal grid through the glazes. This paint thinner I have to use down here is not as good as turpentine at creating a nice consistency of paint. It's crapola.

So, I still layer on more paint. Loving the color combinations -- 

ok, so more paint......

And done! My new favorite -- 

And here is where he will be hanging, Doctor Bird cottage at Whistling Bird in Negril ,Jamaica.

Friday, June 29, 2012


Here's the next progression of in my series of bird paintings -- the Jacana, a tropical wading bird, with enormous clawed feet.

First step, charcoal sketch -

Next, the hot mess stage, color washes every where:

I was using some photo references that showed the bird in a tangle of leaves, but since it's a water bird, I decided to add some ocean -- 

More paint - 

And a little bit of reedy water business along the bottom -- 

The jacana has a very odd yellow cap on its forehead, almost looks like a duck bill just pasted there:

Finishing up, some glazes across the sky -- 

Sorting out the reedy water business - 

And done!

 And this is where Jacana will ultimately live - Jacana Cottage at  Whistling Bird, Negril.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cacophony of Color

Before - 

Halfway there - 

And the final cacophony  - 

11"x14" ink and watercolor on paper

And a close up:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fronds and more fronds

Fronds on the beach, before:

and after - 

4"x6" ink and watercolor on paper

And a close up -

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The View from Here

When I stand in the sea, this is my view -- beautifully lush and green:

4"x4"x1.5" oil on hand-cut cedar wood block

Ready to hang:

Interregnum Redux

Before - 

and after --

Seagrape No. 14  $85
4"x6", ink and watercolor on paper

and a close up - 


Morning Beach

The beach. On the beach.

Negril Beach No. 7  $85
4"x6" watercolor on paper

Monday, June 25, 2012

Co-co coconuts

Before -

and after - 

Coconuts No. 7  $85
4"x6" ink and watercolor

and a close up - 

Bird Interregnum

There are those among you who think I should not waste my time with flowers and fronds (you know who you are) but I shall persist ......


and after:

Croton No. 23  $85
4"x6" ink and watercolor on paper

Saturday, June 23, 2012

In between the birds


and after:

Negril No. 47  $85
4"x6", ink and watercolor on paper

Friday, June 22, 2012

Palm Tree Upon Cedar

Palm Tree No. 5   $40

Original oil painting on hand-cut cedar block, 4"x4"1.5"

Ready to hang:

Thursday, June 21, 2012


I knew that painting by birds every day would get a bit tiresome, so I brought along some other options, just to break things up a little. Specifically, I have about a dozen 4"x4"x1.5" hand-cut, cedar blocks. I bought them here. I prepped them with a few layers of gesso, sanding in between each layer.
They have a nice keyhole cut in the back so they are ready to hang.

I set up my paints and palette. I have all of my paint tubes numbered, using a sharpie, both on the cap and several places all over each tube. I then number the spot on the palette where I lay out the paints. I find it hard to tell which paint is which after they leave the tube: the names of the colors can be quite long and can get obscured on the tube after lots of use. When I want to replace a color, it makes it easier to know which is which by just referring to the number. Those blues and those dark reds can look very similar when it's just a thick slab of paint on the palette.

So I decided on a simple beach landscape.  Lots of intense color to start. The usual "hot mess" stage:

Then I wiped it down a little, leaving a smudgy stain of colors as a base:

More layers of color, adding a little white surf:

At first I was going to leave it like that, but then I thought it was just a little too saturated. So I added a glaze of white over the whole thing. Made it more misty, more ethereal, less garish:

Alright, then done!

Negril Beach No. 6  $40