Red-shouldered hawk in handmade watercolors using Ozark pigments.

Ozark Birds of Prey : Red-shouldered Hawk

Just finished this red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus).

Prints available. Click here.

Progression Pics: Art in Progress

I post all of the steps as I’m doing it at Instagram, so if you want to follow along in real time, follow me there or on FB. Sometimes it’s a good bit later when I get around to updating the website.

Getting Started on the Red-Shouldered Hawk

I decided for this set (I’m doing two of this species) to use the gray-green silt stone for a background. So I went ahead and did both backgrounds at the same time. Here’s the first one with the rough sketch in place.

Background and rough sketch for the first red-shouldered hawk painting.
Background and roughed-in sketch in place.

Issues with angles

There’s always something to correct once the sketch-in begins to take shape. This time it’s the tilt of his head. The angle is wrong and it throws everything else off. The eyes are the first thing I like to do, but I can’t do the eyes until the head is shaped properly.

The head on my red-shouldered hawk is wrong... wrong angles, wrong tilt.
The head is wrong… wrong angles, wrong tilt.
I 'erased' the lower half of his head by lifting the black paint.
I ‘erased’ the lower half of his head by lifting the black paint.
Now the tilt is right, and I put the eyes and beak. I will work more on this later, but this is enough for now to allow me to move on.
Now the tilt is right, and I put the eyes and beak. I will work more on this later, but this is enough for now to allow me to move on.

Colors for the Red-Shouldered Hawk

The colors I’ll be using for this hawk are similar to the colors I used on the kestrels and the goshawks. For the goshawks, I used a lot more black, though.

I made paints specifically to get ready to do this set of hawks, though, and each set of paints vary depending on the rocks I used to make it.

  • Russet sandstone (Nirvana)
  • Red sandstone (Intoxicating)
  • Yellow Sandstone
  • Char-shale (a combination of creek shale and charred wood)
  • tumbled limestone (Ancient white)
  • Brown brown (from a really hard black sandstone)

Blocking in Color

First I added the russet on his chest and wings.

Then I added contour lines to his head.

Red-shouldered hawk in progress.
Red-shouldered hawk in progress.

Added more shadow to his head, added more pigment to the background. It’s going to be a few days before I get a chance to work on it again now.

As it stands on Feb. 15, 2019
As it stands on Feb. 15, 2019

I had hoped to get both of the red-shouldered hawks done this month, but it seems that life had other plans. February always feels like such a short month, even though it’s only a few days shorter than most. I am going to have to start reducing the amount of other things I commit to if I want to have time to work more on paintings.

Update 3/11/19: Finally I’ve had time to get back to work on the red-shouldered hawk.

Update 3/19/19: Took me a while, but I’m back to work on the painting. By the end of the day, I ended up one step forward and two steps back. The tail is blocked in better, and so are the feet. But then when I started working on the wings I realized the bars are just too wide on them. So I erased most of them and will start over on that part tomorrow.

These are just the place-holders for the feet. I still have a LOT more work to do on them.
These are just the place-holders for the feet. I still have a LOT more work to do on them. But they’re in the right place, in the right proportions, and at the right angles. That’s all that matters at this point.
Progress on Red-Shouldered Hawk by the end of the day
Progress on Red-Shouldered Hawk by the end of the day. Most of the bars on the wings are erased (lifted with a clean wet brush). I’ll put them back narrower so it is more accurate.
Red-shouldered hawk painting in progress, using handmade watercolors from Ozark pigments.
Still working on it… and sometimes I do work on it upside down, lol. But this pic is upside down because I can’t get it to orient right-side-up, even after editing and saving. I’m tired. It’s late. And I’m just going to leave it like this, lol.

Ozark Birds of Prey

My current project is painting of each of the species of raptors in the Ozarks. Some of them are full-time residents and some just visit. The red-shouldered hawk is one of our resident species.

Two Screech Owls in a Tree

This morning before I left the house to go to the post office, I briefly thought about whether I should grab the camera or not. I decided to not. It had been a few days since I’d last caught even a glimpse of the screech owl that lives by the gate. So I didn’t have enough hope to bother going back inside to get the camera.

Boy, what a mistake that was.

Screech Owls

I glanced over to the holey tree where the nest was, and like I thought, she wasn’t there. But then I saw the two spots of orange on the tree right outside the home-tree.

And there I was, owls in broad daylight, with no good camera on hand. So I got this pic with my iPhone in case I never got the chance for a better one.

2 little screech owls sitting in a tree.

I debated whether or not to bother trying to go back to the house for my real camera, wondered whether or not I could reasonably expect them to still be there when I got back down to the gate. Our driveway is not short, or smooth. So I’d have to go slow. But I decided to try.

Too Late

When I got back to the gate, after getting the camera, swapping out the lens, and making the slow journey down the driveway again, they were gone. At first my heart sank. My best opportunity ever for getting a good owl pic and I’d blown it.

But there they were, on the other tree, in a tangle of vines.

Two little screech owls hiding in a tangle of vines.

A Birds of Prey Project

I’m happy to have gotten the pictures for more than just because I love owls. The main focus in my art is birds of prey. Usually I have to get permission from other photographers to use their birds as subjects, but now I have one of my own. And that makes me happy.

Screech owls are on my list of Ozark Birds of Prey to paint. I’ll do a better one of them later, but I made a quick one for my grand-daughter Karter’s birthday. When I get the better one done, I’ll add it to this page, too.

Screech owl painting (quick version).

Madison Woods is an author, artist, and Paleo Paint maker living
with her husband in northwest Arkansas far off the beaten path. She uses Ozark pigments to create her paintings.

Contact Info:
Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @wildozark
Facebook: @wildozark