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Ozark Birds of Prey

Raptor Paintings in Ozark Pigments
by Madison Woods

This is the Ozark Birds of Prey project. My goal is to paint at least two of each species, working in series by the species. The list spans all of the Ozark birds of prey, which includes Arkansas, Missouri, and far eastern Oklahoma. As I get each one finished, I’ll link it to the gallery page over at PaleoPaints.com. 

Wild-crafted Ozark Pigments – A Unique Artistic Angle

The thing that sets my work apart is the color. Before I make a painting, first I make the paint. And before I make the paint, there are pigments to gather. I collect rocks, clay, and a couple of plants I know to produce light-fast pigments to create the palette used for each painting. If you’re interested in this process of making paint, check out my page on making watercolor paints.

The Latest Finished Ozark Birds of Prey Painting

“Ancient Earth Wisdom”, November 2021. Original is sold, but prints are available.

The List: Ozark Birds of Prey (26 species)

The list is broken into sections by type of raptor. This particular project encompasses only those birds of prey that can be seen in the Ozarks, but the larger collection will include all North American Birds of Prey.

Hawks (11 species)

Falcons (4 species)

  • Merlin (need photos)
  • Peregrin (need more photos flying/landing)
  • Gyrfalcon (need photos)

Eagles (2 species)

Owls (7 species)

  • Great horned (finished Nov 2021)
  • Barred (need photos)
  • Barn (need photos)
  • Screech (need photos)
  • Northern saw whet (need photos)
  • Long-eared (need photos)
  • Short-eared (need photos)

Vultures (2 species)

  • Turkey (need photos)
  • Black (need photos)

About the Artist and the Birds of Prey Project

Hi, I’m Madison Woods. I use foraged, light-fast pigments (from rocks, clay, or plants) to create the paint I use in my work. All of the colors you’ll see in my birds of prey in this project will be Ozark colors, except where I’ve used a bright white. That white is made from a clean chalk powder.

First I collect the rocks, then I smash them and grind them to a powder. Once that is done I make watercolor paints by adding a solution of gum Arabic to the pigment. My art is literally created from the ground up.

I’m not painting in any particular order on the list above. However, I do tend to work in series. When I choose the next subject, I’ll prepare to paint two or three of that species. So that comprises a ‘series’. Once I get all of a family done (i.e. ‘hawks’, ‘falcons’, ‘owls’, etc.), all of the series of the various species will comprise a ‘collection’.

So far, as of February 2019, I have two raptor series (kestrels and goshawks) and no Birds of Prey collections yet completed. I began painting in July of 2018. If I keep to the current production rate, I should get around one per month completed.

Are You a Photographer/Birder?

Hey birders! If you have good photos of any I haven’t done yet and want to let me use them for reference, email me! My addy is madison@wildozark.com. I’ll be happy to send you a signed print.

Many thanks go to the following photographers. I’ve used their images for the birds so far completed:
  • Terry Stanfill of Siloam Springs/Gravette (all kestrels, red-shouldered hawk)
  • Javier Sanz, of Spain (Goshawk No. 2, “Rhapsody”)
  • Nicoli Gianluca, of Italy (Goshawk No. 1)
  • Lars Jones, of Florida (red-shouldered hawk)
  • Shelby Townsend, of Louisiana (peregrine)
More Information

You can see all of my paintings at PaleoPaints.com. The links in the list above bring you to the process page for that particular painting. Also in the list, the information in parenthesis indicates the order in which the birds were painted and the month/year it was created. I began painting altogether in July 2018, self-taught. My handmade watercolors are the only paint I’ve ever used. 

If you’re interested in following along as I paint, look for me on Instagram (@wildozark). I usually post a lot of progress pics throughout the process.

I’d love to know if you’re following my work, so please leave a comment to let me know you were here. A comment also helps my website rank better in search engines, which brings more traffic my way. Thank you!

4 thoughts on “Ozark Birds of Prey”

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  1. Amazing process, Madison. and so beautifully done. Your talents are boundless.
    Ginger English

    1. Thank you, Ginger! There is enough yet to learn that I think I’ll be working at it for the rest of my life. It is truly fascinating to make art with local pigments. Or any pigment that I’ve held in my hand before it became a paint, lol.

  2. Hey, Lady. You do fabulous work. Remember I mentioned By Golly, the old Arkansas Hermit PAinter? He painted exactly like you do, except I believe he made oils instead of watercolors. He was featured on one of the shows on PBS, and I did the Ozarks Mountaineer article on him because I knew him personally. I think if he were alive he would be happy to know you are carrying on the tradition!

    1. Hi Diana, thanks! I tried to find some info on By Golly and his use of the pigments, but didn’t find anything about that. I did find some biographical sort of things that talked about his sign-making business in Eureka Springs, though. Do you happen to have that article you wrote still? I’d love to read it. It makes me happy to think he’d be happy about what I’m doing 🙂

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