Bailey Taking A Nap

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Bailey taking a “nap” on the hearth. I’m not sure that she ever actually sleeps.

Here’s a picture of Bailey taking a nap on the hearth. I used gouache on black paper for this. After using watercolors for a while, using gouache seems very strange to me. The opacity of its pigments takes some getting used to…

Good Day Raven

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Watercolor Raven. Put plastic wrap on the wet paint of the background to give it that wrinkly look.

A Raven for a beautiful Saturday morning.
 
The sun’s shining, birds are singing, the hills are calling out. Going to be another good day.
As my brother-in-law John always says – What’s not to like?

Rock Squirrel

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Rock Squirrel on a ruin wall, in Canyons of the Ancients

Here’s a picture of a Rock Squirrel. I came across this squirrel when I was camping  in Canyons of the Ancients last year. He was sitting on the rubble of a ruin wall and calling. He was very wary, he’d hide when I tried to get close to him. The sun was just coming up and it was a beautiful day.

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Grins

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Watercolor and gouache Peregrine Falcon on a cliff face.

I had the chance to watch some nesting Peregrine Falcons a year or two ago. I was at the bottom of the cliffs, and quite a distance away, and so was quite certain that I was not disturbing the birds.

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Sandhill

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Sandhill Crane

Here’s a picture of a Sandhill Crane that I based in one of my recent Bosque del Apache photos. I used a combination of pen and ink, watercolor, gouache and Derwent Inktense pencils for this.

I like the pen and ink of the head and face, the Inktense pencils worked well with it. Great fun.

Springtime Carp

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Watercolor of a Springtime Carp cruising in shallow water

Last Spring I spent a few days paddling my kayak around the local reservoirs and ponds. One of the cool things I saw was the Carp as they come into the shallow waters to breed.

The Carp would loom up from the milky murk of the water. I would usually see the pattern of their scales first. The hard, linear angles of the scales would be jarringly distinct compared to the curves and reflections of the water surface. Then the gold of the fish’s pectoral fins would appear, then the eyes, and finally the rest of the Carp would paint itself into existence. Like a magic trick.

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Roadrunner

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Colored Pencil Roadrunner.

I was in McElmo Canyon a few months ago and came across a Roadrunner. Wow – I didn’t know that they occurred near Cortez! My Colorado bird book says that they are around Mancos, too.

I’m fascinated by these birds. They’ve got this crazy predatory intensity to them.

Harris Hawks

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Harris Hawk on Sagauro Cactus. This morning was so pretty that I thought my heart would break.

I recently spent a few days in Scottsdale for family matters. I also managed to get out into the desert early one morning.

I went out looking for Harris Hawks. I used to see a lot of them in Scottsdale, but in the last few years I haven’t seen more than one or two. The land had changed so very much. It seemed as though all the places I used to go had been paved over.

I was wondering if the Hawks were still around.

While my old haunts were indeed barren, the hawks are still present in other places. I was able to locate a least three family groups that morning.

Harris Hawks on Sagauro, with nest.

It made me pretty happy to find them.

Little Ruin Canyon

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Square Tower ruin in Hovenweep’s Little Ruin Canyon. Pen and ink, watercolor pencil, colored pencil.

On a snowy day last week, my faithful hound Jack and I drove out to Hovenweep Canyon. The plan was to hike in the backcountry. Unfortunately, I pulled off the road to take a photo of a Bald Eagle…and got oh-so-very stuck in the snow.

A couple of nice guys came along and pulled me out of the ditch. The experience made me think that perhaps I should stay off the back roads on this particular day.

So Jack and I went to the Visitor’s Center and hiked the Little Ruin Canyon Trail instead.

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Grendel

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Nestling Peregrine, colored pencil.

I spent a fair amount of time last Spring watching a pair of nesting Peregrines. I was on the canyon floor, a long distance away, but could clearly hear the baby screaming for food! food! FOOD!

Peregrine nestling screaming for food

The parents would come in every half hour or so, bringing whatever prey they had been able to catch.

Adult Peregrine(left) dives away from the nest ledge and the nestling (upper right) after delivering prey.

I was fascinated by how different the nestling seemed from the adult birds. Yes, I know that baby birds are always look different than their parents…but the contrast between this seemingly enormous, pajama-clad tyrant and the adult Peregrines seemed especially striking.

The nestling made me think of a young Grendel sitting in his mountain lair, impatiently waiting for feathers, when he, too, could come slashing down from his cliff ledges and down into the world.