Sunday, 19 May 2019

Backus Woods

Backus Woods, May 17th 2019

On May 17th 2019 I revisited Backus Woods Nature Preserve, west of Port Dover, Ontario. 

A rare fragment of old growth Carolinian Forest (Eastern Deciduous Forest), it is the smallest and most endangered eco-system in Canada. 

I was intent on seeing and hopefully photographing the rare and elusive Prothonotary Warbler. This time, unlike last year, I was rewarded.

A lifer for me, the Prothonotary Warbler, is one of the rarest breeding birds in Ontario. They are restricted to the north shore of lake Erie. These birds are stunningly beautiful, with a yellow-orange head, yellow breast, olive-green back and bluish grey wings and tail.

Also seen and heard: Hooded Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher, Scarlet Tanager, Rose Breasted Grosbeak, American Redstart, Cerulean Warbler, Red Bellied Woodpecker, Yellow Bellied Sapsucker, Broad Winged Hawk, Red Winged Blackbirds, Grackles, Wood Thrush, Catbird and Field Sparrow.

Tulip Tree

Scarlet Tanager

Grey Catbird

American Redstart
Yellow Bellied Sapucker

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Red Winged Blackbird

This is a digital painting I have just completed of the Red Winged Blackbird.
I did this in Photoshop using my Cintiq tablet. I did all the elements in separate layers. A background layer, a layer for the bullrushes, as well as separate layers for the bird and the left foot, as well as the stem in the foreground. I used multiple photos for reference, as well as specimens borrowed from the Royal Ontario Museum. A single photo does not have enough information to create an image like this, so it's important to have as much reference as possible.

The Red Winged Blackbird is one of the most common birds in North America, and one of the earliest migrants in the spring. They prefer marshy areas and wetlands, but are just at home in vacant lots in urban spaces. They are also territorial and vicious birds that will not hesitate to harass you and
stab you in the scalp with their needle sharp beaks while letting out a terrifying shriek. I can remember being terrorized by a four ounce bird on my way to work every day.

Digital prints on archival paper are available (12" x 12").

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Standing Cow

Standing Cow, oil on canvas, 18" x 24"

The following is an earlier version:

The green was I bit too strong earlier on. It's a bit jarring, so I toned it down.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

New Painting

Cypress Lake, oil on  canvas 24"36"
This is a recent painting of Cypress Lake Provincial Park. In the background is the Niagara Escarpment and part of Georgian Bay. The rocks here are of limestone. Very different than in other parts of the bay.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Some New Works

Some new paintings that I have recently finished. These are of Franklin Island in Georgian Bay in Ontario. The Bay was a favourite haunt of the Group of Seven.
A Summer's Day, oil on canvas, 24" x 36"

Franklin Island 2, oil on canvas, 30" x 50"

Both paintings are currently at the Westmount Gallery in the west end of Toronto (Etobicoke)

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Some New Paintings

 A Lone Sheep, oil on wood panel, 36" x 36"

Rough Fell Sheep, oil on wood panel, 36" x 36"

These paintings, both of which were finished  within the last year, are based on images from a trip to England a few years back. These sheep are called "Rough Fell Sheep" and are found in the upland areas of the North of England. Not to be confused with the "Scottish Black Face".

Friday, 15 May 2015

New Mexico

May 15th 2015.

We have been in New Mexico for the last 10 days and now it's raining. The weather has been unpredictable and unseasonably cool. When the sun comes out, however, the light is fantastic and reveals the spectacular beauty of the High Desert. The rain may be unpleasant for us, but the plants love it, especially here, where they need it.

(Desert wildflowers)

Wednesday was spent at Taos Canyon, just south of the town of Taos. The weather was good enough for some painting, so I managed to get a quick sketch in. The clouds broke and the sun was shining, and we heard a wren singing just off the path into the canyon.
Ravens, Turkey Vultures and Red-Tailed Hawks were seen and are quite common here.
Taos Canyon

Rock Wren

Rio Grande Gorge, watercolour

Above: Wholeleaf Indian Paintbrush