• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

A few neotropic bird paintings (1 Viewer)


Little known member
“A mobbing and a small death”
This painting is part of the “Events in the life of Birds” collection (one of four sets) which consists of moments I’ve witnessed, either generally or specifically, over the years.
Rather than clutter up the wildlife art forum with separate posts I’ll stick to posting other work in this thread.
PS. Bonus points if you can name the species depicted here. Hint, Costa Rica, mid elevations.
Fabulous, seen most of these in Panama, at the Canopy Tower
Thank you kindly!

Canopy tower! I lived in Panama for three years and I’m ashamed to say I never got there. We did live on the west side of Gatun Lake for four months so saw a lot of the birds one might see at Canopy or even the pipeline road, similar habitat and elevation. Someday I hope.
Yellow-eared Toucanet. (Selenidera spectabilis)
This painting is part of the Regional endemics of Central America collection.

Rather than just posting paintings I thought a little background on how these things happen would be fun, so here goes.
There are a lot of good reasons for attempting these but one important driver is species accuracy. I’m happy to indulge in an arty approach providing it doesn’t interfere with a clear and general description of colour, shape or markings of the species.

I enjoy inventing things out of my head without referring to a photograph so I usually start by fleshing out the pose, scene and shape from a blank page. It’s then worked on as far as memory and knowledge allows. There’s a lot of pushing, pulling, erasing and going backwards this way but boy is it satisfying when it works out.
I tend to invent this way in order to avoid the subtle but persistent tyranny of the photograph. I’m susceptible to it’s influence so have to exercise caution.

When the painting has a life of its own I then sit down and curate as many photos as possible in order to gain an understanding of an average colour, shape and markings for that species. I put off the curating bit for as long as I can.

Needless to say another important tool is field work. Seeing the bird in the wild even briefly helps immensely and since my memory is fairly photographic I can use that in the sketch workups. Field work is not always feasible of course but whenever I can I do. Consulting with biologists and field workers is also a sought after resource as well.
Having access to a lab collection would be wonderful but that’s not happening any time soon so I build my research processes as best I can.

To be honest I’m not sure where these fit in the field of bird illustration. That spectrum consisting of pure art for arts sake at one end to pure scientific illustration at the other. Betwixt and between perhaps. At any rate I find the work challenging and intellectually rewarding.

A side note,
One nice thing about switching over to an iPad after 35 years working with traditional materials is that every stroke in the painting in the painting app is recorded. It’s a great teaching tool, and actually helps with understanding the progress and timeline of a painting.
Anyway, I include here a video from that process video. It originally was a twelve minute video that I speeded up to one minute. Even I don’t have the patience to watch the entire twelve minutes and I painted the bloody thing. The video quality had to be reduced as well so it could squeeze through the internet.
The painting itself in real time has 14 hours invested so far with more to come.

View attachment IMG_4512.MOV
OMG!!! These are just stunning Bryan.

The detail round the eye in the last image is just amazing.

Is that your reflection I can see in his eye? ;)
OMG!!! These are just stunning Bryan.

The detail round the eye in the last image is just amazing.

Is that your reflection I can see in his eye? ;)
Thank you Delia, not in this case but thats the nice thing about working digitally, as long as the resolution supports it you can zoom in forever to get crazy detail.
Absolutely amazing! You have a fan here... Show more!!!!
Thank you kindly Swampy Sam!
I’ll keep posting to this thread but I try to keep the frequency down for the sake of the wildlife art forum. Theres over 250 paintings in the collection so there’ll be plenty of time to post more. 👍😉
Been a while but here’s another painting from the collection of the regional endemics of Central America.
Fulvous Owl ( Strix fulvescens )
Sometimes called the Guatemala Barred Owl. The Fulvous Owl is related in a small way to the Barred Owls of North America. In this case the Fulvous is a regional endemic of Central America.
The nice thing about working in Procreate for the iPad is the ability to zoom in for crazy detail. zooming out a lot keeps me from overdoing it. When I used to paint in traditional oils I’d use a magnifying glass at times, zooming in and out on the iPad is a lot easier these days.

Once again amazing art. It's funny I watched your video and just watched the lines pop up on the screen. I'm still old school, and just use my pens for the most part and pencils and my beat up sketchpad. Spending a lot of time field sketching .l love the challenge of time vs frantic sketching. This is complete meditation for myself. That is the Best, plus watching the wacky things birds do. Once again amazing art..

Users who are viewing this thread