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Old Tuesday 4th December 2012, 23:55   #26
buzzard12
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Hi Alan!

Congrats on the new studio! The quality of the work you've produced from it is outstanding. The Great Gray Owl is my favorite - I have yet to see one in the wild, despite multiple trips to do so.

Hi John,

Not sure what is happening stateside, though here in Scandinavia there has been an incredible influx of Great Grey Owls, which started in late summer 2011. That summer was a record rodent year, owls bred prolifically and many even raised second broods. The inevitable crash in rodent numbers saw a huge southward movement of Great Grey Owl(predominently young birds) through the winter of 2011/12 and many birds are still around now, moving around out of the normal range, all probably birds born in 2011. Not sure if these owl irruptions are mirrored in the same years on your side of the pond?
Strangely, this autumn and winter has seen a Hawk Owl invasion, a year later. These birds were not so plentiful last year, though a few were around, nothing like the present invasion though.
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Old Wednesday 5th December 2012, 05:49   #27
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Here in the Pacific Northwest (Washington state), we are having our second irruption year for Snowy Owls. Last year saw very high numbers of Snowies in the winter of 2011-2012. Sometimes historically, there is an 'echo flight' the following winter - but usually with lesser numbers of birds. This year so far seems to be as many birds as last year.

Great Grays here are a different issue - to my knowledge they don't really have irruption years like Snowies. They are found - sometimes, rarely - in the far north central and northeastern part of our state. Same thing with Northern Hawk Owls - they are not even annual.
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Old Wednesday 5th December 2012, 07:11   #28
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-16 I couldnt cope and wouldnt leave the house You have done the Great grey justice super
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Old Wednesday 12th December 2012, 02:54   #29
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A couple of compositional biro drawings here which will become paintings. The first, from Landsort this autumn, which I will tackle this week. The second Waxwing piece, my first effort at a large comp which may be expanded horizontally to include more birds. This inspired by the sight of 100 plus birds near home. A lot of these birds around right now, though mist admit its tempting to add another species or two, Pine Grosbeak and Fieldfare foremost among them..
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Old Wednesday 12th December 2012, 02:57   #30
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Here's the other, working off the iPhone right now, not allowing multiple images on the same post...
My process has had to change, been working a lot of late in the bar, xmas parties etc, the minus conditions also mean little hope of fieldwork either and these sketches are coming straight out of my head. Have cleared next week though and will spend it in the studio. Have a commission to do, otherwise I'm free. Happily two commissions have resulted in the studio being paid for until the end of April, a totally unexpected result...
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Old Wednesday 12th December 2012, 07:19   #31
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The waxwing piece is awesome as it stands so Im sure the painting will be. Good new on the studio payed for
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Old Wednesday 12th December 2012, 13:50   #32
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That is a definite winner!
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Old Wednesday 12th December 2012, 22:30   #33
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good all round - studio space, commissions, crests and pecks . . . oh, and waxwings. There's a definite surge forward in all of this - fantastico!
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Old Friday 14th December 2012, 13:53   #34
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This one just finished, a commission piece..

Evening tones, a Blackbird male in song..
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Old Friday 14th December 2012, 16:07   #35
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Love the palette you used here - great sky to complement the bird.
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Old Friday 14th December 2012, 18:36   #36
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This one is fantastic Alan!
I love the way you controlled and rendered the various tones on a black bird!
Wonderful!

Paschalis
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Old Saturday 15th December 2012, 08:21   #37
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This one is fantastic Alan!
I love the way you controlled and rendered the various tones on a black bird!
Wonderful!

Paschalis
Me too. I'm painting a little blackbird at the moment so I know the challenges only too well. Brave sky, deftly done too.

Mike
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Old Saturday 15th December 2012, 13:42   #38
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Thanks for the kind words guys. As with many commisions, there was a specific request for this painting. I was given a photo of the top of a lampost and asked if I could paint a singing Blackbird on it. The couple have a resident Blackbird which sings from that point every evening, which they both enjoy listening to. Hardly a very exciting composition though and I struggled to come up with a way of making the image interesting. The over the top sky was my solution in a way, as there was little I could do with the 'bird on a post' really. You would not come across such a sky naturally, either in colour or cloud formation, it was just an excuse to use some nice, vivid colour, which has given me food for thought regarding pallette use...
Happily the painting was very well received by a friend, as a gift for his birthday which is always nice....
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Old Sunday 16th December 2012, 21:16   #39
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Thanks for the kind words guys. As with many commisions, there was a specific request for this painting. I was given a photo of the top of a lampost and asked if I could paint a singing Blackbird on it. The couple have a resident Blackbird which sings from that point every evening, which they both enjoy listening to. Hardly a very exciting composition though and I struggled to come up with a way of making the image interesting. The over the top sky was my solution in a way, as there was little I could do with the 'bird on a post' really. You would not come across such a sky naturally, either in colour or cloud formation, it was just an excuse to use some nice, vivid colour, which has given me food for thought regarding pallette use...
Happily the painting was very well received by a friend, as a gift for his birthday which is always nice....
I much enjoy the painting and the explanation. I don't know if I'd noticed the sky all that much until you mentioned it. Now I do see the amount of creativity in it.
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Old Monday 17th December 2012, 14:05   #40
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a great piece Alan
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Old Tuesday 15th January 2013, 16:12   #41
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Beginnings of a couple of canvases here, both of Hawk Owl, after an amazing day yesterday with one of these northern gems. The bird made a big impression and I intend on three different pieces, hopefully, giving three different perspectives. Here's the first one, sketched and blocked in. I'm out of white acrylic paint after this, an oversight which has stopped work for today...

On Canvas, 80cmx60cm.
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Old Tuesday 15th January 2013, 16:18   #42
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The second is a bigger canvas of 120cmx80cm

This time the hope is to portray a Hawk Owl ghosting through its birch forest habitat with a vole in its talons. From a little comp sketch done on the train on my return trip home...
Just sketched it directly onto the canvas with felt tip pen in order to get it down whilst still fresh in my mind...
Back tomorrow for a marathon painting session..
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Old Tuesday 15th January 2013, 17:41   #43
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Just before I left I picked up a Masonite Panel and quickly sketched this, then banged on a little wash. Lashings of cerulean blue, white and cadium yellow followed and 30 minutes later ended up with this, also 80cmx60cm, a piece that really came out of nowhere. Think I will keep this on quite fresh and paint it quickly, maybe at the end of my sessions when I have loosened up...
Lots to work on in the coming days..
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Old Tuesday 15th January 2013, 19:33   #44
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Just before I left I picked up a Masonite Panel and quickly sketched this, then banged on a little wash. Lashings of cerulean blue, white and cadium yellow followed and 30 minutes later ended up with this, also 80cmx60cm, a piece that really came out of nowhere. Think I will keep this on quite fresh and paint it quickly, maybe at the end of my sessions when I have loosened up...
Lots to work on in the coming days..
great stuff with the seeing and doing: sounds like serious endeavours- have you had the good sense to keep computah out of reach whilst painting? I'm finding that as a breaker of concentration it's pretty much the worst
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Old Tuesday 15th January 2013, 21:37   #45
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great stuff with the seeing and doing: sounds like serious endeavours- have you had the good sense to keep computah out of reach whilst painting? I'm finding that as a breaker of concentration it's pretty much the worst
Hi Ed,

My macbook has died due to Linda and a large glass of water just before Christmas! Managed to recover the hard drive in order to save my photos, though not yet had the spare cash to get a replacement. Currently browsing the net through my still functioning wireless broadband by iPhone, also the PC at work, when I'm there. Have found since I lost the use of a home computer I seem to have a lot more time on my hands.
My only distractions are the said phone, when it rings, or a box of malboro lights, which I really should pour more water on...

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Old Wednesday 16th January 2013, 13:56   #46
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Great to see so many started all at once Alan. With no computer distractions I'd guess that you'll get three good ones before you know it. Hard to say which I like best at the moment but there is something about that thirid one.
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Old Wednesday 16th January 2013, 14:25   #47
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By heck Alan the Hawk Owl coming through the trees looks like its going to be a very strong piece
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Old Thursday 17th January 2013, 05:46   #48
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They all three looks like becoming great paintings, I hope you keep us up to date with the progress! The hawk owl is such a stunning bird!
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Old Thursday 17th January 2013, 16:19   #49
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Here's the progress so far on one of the Hawk Owl portraits. The other is not working so well as I got the proportions wrong on the bird, which has left me unhappy with working on it. Will let it sit and mull it over..
This one is going better though, though still a fair way to go...
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Old Thursday 17th January 2013, 16:24   #50
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Here's the other, very roughly blocked in and just beginning to take shape. Getting depth in this will be important I think. There will be a lot of work in this big canvas, may take some time I think..
Uploading by iPhone, which only allows one attachment per post for some reason, hence the lone images. Using iPhone camera too, indoors, so images are not great, my apologies.
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