I have finished the Dusky Grouse painting from the pencil sketch I showed you earlier. This is all transparent watercolor on Arches 300 lb. rough paper--image size 10" x 14". As I mentioned, this specific scene was observed at the top of Signal Mountain Road in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, this past September. We first saw the two grouse on the ground foraging. Later, we rediscovered them, each up in their own Subalpine Fir tree. The twisted branches and patterned trunks made an interesting background with only slight artistic modification. Reference Photo: Dusky Grouse. Grand Teton
This painting represents an unusual set of circumstances for a bird artist. Painting compositions typically come about in one of two ways. (1) You decide you want to do a painting of a particular bird because you have a good photo or because you just made sketches of this bird, or you just feel like painting it! You then either search other reference material for an ecologically appropriate and aesthetically pleasing setting or you go out looking for a good setting in nature. Or (2) you come across a really interesting setting that you want to paint and you decide what bird would be appropriate for it. It is less frequent that you come across a bird perched/swimming/flying in just a perfect setting and you have your design right there in front of you! This Dusky Grouse presented one of these nearly perfect combination (although there was some design adjustment required).
Now I have turned my attention to another photo I have of a Great Blue Heron perched in a tree that is also an almost ready-made design with a few "tweeks." Didn't I just say this situation was rare??
Two in a row is unusual, though. Here's the final drawing I'm working from:
Final sketch for "On the Alert" Great Blue Heron
Possibly the sketch is going to be hard for you to see, but, here it is anyway.
By the way, I encourage anyone reading these posts to make comments or ask questions. I'm open to anything about painting, birds, or natural history. So let's hear from some of you!