Ozark Birds of Prey : Red-shouldered Hawk

The photo I'm using for a model is by Lars Jones. You'll find him at Instagram (@larsjones666).
The photo I’m using for a model is by Lars Jones. You’ll find him at Instagram.

The painting I’m working on now is a red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus).

Update 3/19/19: This is a very long post. If you just want to hop to the finished painting, there will be a live link here when it’s done. Today is March 19, 2019 and I’m still working on this painting. It’s turning out to be one of the most time consuming ones I’ve done yet.

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.

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.

My Interview with Jacqueline Froelich of KUAF (91.3 FM)

I was excited to have been interviewed by Jacqueline Froelich of KUAF earlier this week. She came out on Tuesday and let me show and tell my process of making paint and art from the natural resources of the land here at Wild Ozark.

Here’s a link to the show if you’d like to listen.

Local Artist Creates Paints Using Ancient Methods

There is one miss-speak in there I’d like to mention. I didn’t intend to imply that modern synthetic colors are not light fast. Most likely all of them are. However, modern synthetic pigments have only been in use for a relatively short while, so they haven’t withstood the test of time yet. All paint manufacturers do submit their colors to testing to simulate the exposure to light and passage of time, though.

You can see all of the art I’ve made so far with the Paleo Paints at the Paleo Paints website 🙂

What I meant to do was clarify the difference between the plant pigments I’ve found that are *not* light fast as compared to the very fastness of the earth pigments (those from stone, mineral, soil, or clay).

All in all, I had a great time showing Froelich around and talking about my obsession. We’ve interviewed before on the topic of ginseng, but this was the first public exposure of this scale for my art. Let me know what you think about the interview if you get a chance to listen.

Collection No. 6, packaged and ready to ship! Uploading to Etsy on 1/11/2019. These were in progress when Jacqueline Froelich came out to Wild Ozark to do an interview.
Collection No. 6, packaged and ready to ship! Uploading to Etsy on 1/13/2019, but I’ll have these 3 sets with me at the Fayetteville Farmers market on 1/12/19.

 

Catching Up & Gearing Up for More Paint-Making and Paintings

For the past couple of months I’ve been busy with festival-going and getting ready for more festival-going for the Burnt Kettle Syrup. Then for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been enjoying time with Rob (Mr. Wild Ozark/Burnt Kettle). Paint-making and painting has been on the sidelines for a while.

But it’s time to get back to work now. Lots of events coming up over the next couple of months that involve my art.  So I am gearing up for that now. (See my Schedule calendar to keep up and get locations/times information).

  • Demo Day- the artists of Kingston Square Arts will be demonstrating their crafts. I’ll be making watercolor paint from local rocks.
  • Holiday market- my work will be on display and for sale at the Walton Arts Center/McBride Studio from Nov. 23 to Dec. 1
  • Give Less Give More- a popup market hosted by Good Acres at Johnson Mill in Johnson, AR
  • Fayetteville Farmer’s Winter Market- tentatively I will be back at the market on Dec. 8
  • Local Juried Event Applications- there are some art shows I want to enter for next year with deadlines in December this year

Before the Painting

First I have to make the paint. I need a palette I can use for my next project. Today I collected some rocks to use for the next round of paint making.

One of those rocks is the size of a flattened grapefruit, and I just know it’s going to make a fabulous color. It’s a soft sandstone, an ochre that left my fingers stained when I crushed a little of it in testing.

It’s a big enough rock so that I can make both a good sized batch of watercolors and test something brand new I want to try- my first handmade oil paint.

A flattened grapefruit sized rock that'll make some nice handmade paint!
A flattened grapefruit sized rock that’ll make some nice handmade paint!

I haven’t painted anything in a while and I’m overdue! The next picture is going to be my first attempt at an oil painting, with my handmade paints from Ozark colors. It’s going to be the first in a series of goshawks. The first one will be Rob’s, as all of the ‘firsts’ of any series always are. The northern goshawk is one of his favorite birds and I’ve been collecting permissions from photographers to get ready for this new line.

Future Paintings

Here’s one I’d like to do that I don’t yet have permissions, but I’m still trying to find out who the photographer is. I’ve found the photo in lots of places, but only recently found some that give credit to a photographer, so I’m waiting for response from an email I sent.

A female northern goshawk with prey.
A female northern goshawk with prey. I believe the copyright holder for this image is Jens Stahl of the Netherlands, but not sure. Waiting to hear back from this photographer so I can properly credit the photo, and if so, see if I can use it for a model in a painting.


Greens and Blues

I won’t be able to make this green, since we don’t have a light fast source for that kind of green. Blue is another color I can’t make from Ozark sources. I may decide to go beyond the Ozarks for stones I can use to make a good green, though. And to get a gray with the blue tones like this, I may need to use an outside source for that, too.

It’s hard to find good photos of this bird, although I have found some. Even when they are shown with photographer credits, it’s hard to get in touch with the photographers to get permissions to use it. If you know of one, please send me leads! Thanks in advance 🙂

The Latest Paint Collection

If you’d like to see more about Soul of the Ozarks Collection No. 3, I made a blog post at the Paleo Paints website about using the red leaves of black gum for one of the colors in the latest palette. I’ll have that collection of nine colors available to buy at the Holiday Market, and I’m working on the next collection now. Collection No. 4 will be ready for the popup on Dec. 1, or you can watch some of the process I use to make these paints at the Demo Day on Nov. 24.

Sunburst

2018 Autumn at Wild Ozark

It’s been several years since we’ve had the splendid colors we’re having this year. Today I went out to take some pictures to share of the 2018 Autumn at Wild Ozark. Some of the photos are from our driveway, some are down the road we take to get here.

Ozark Autumn 2018

In the first photo below, it’s not really this yellow. I was just playing with Photoshop and the preview wasn’t working so I couldn’t see what I had done until after it was saved. But it’s pretty. Looks how it does through my sunglasses 🙂

2018 Autumn. It's not really this yellow. I was just playing with Photoshop and the preview wasn't working so I couldn't see what I had done until after it was saved. But it's pretty. Looks how it does through my sunglasses :)
View through my sunglasses
The creek that runs alongside our driveway. Locally, it's known as 'the branch', but I call it the Wild Ozark creek.
The creek that runs alongside our driveway. Locally, it’s known as ‘the branch’, but I call it the Wild Ozark creek.
At the second Felkins creek bridge.
At the second Felkins creek bridge.

I’ll post more pictures later when I have time to transfer them from the camera and get them reduced in size. So far, the 2018 autumn is turning out to be pretty spectacular. Every year I wait for the leaves to turn, and it seems like a big wind comes and blows it all away before it has a chance. Or they just go from green to brown.

Is autumn beautiful where you are?

Previous Years

Here’s some links to the posts I’ve made in previous years about the fall colors out here. 2017 Colors and more. Here’s one of the 2015 Colors  

Making Paint from Pink Sandstone of the Ozarks

I’ve been busy as a bee lately making more and more paint. Even though this week my intention was to focus solely on getting ready for upcoming shows and festivals, the lure of a large chunk of pink sandstone seduced me. I couldn’t help it, and I gave in to make more paint.

Collection No. 2

Soul of the Ozarks
Collection No. 2

Collection No. 2 has some of my preliminary experiments with pink sandstone, though. There are three colors in this set. A full pan of Frenchie, made with French green clay, Brown Sands, and Pink Sands.

The color swatches for Soul of the Ozarks, Collection No. 2.
The color swatches for Soul of the Ozarks, Collection No. 2.

 

Frenchie

Although French green clay is from France, I included it in this palette for a couple of reasons. So far I haven’t found a good light-fast local source to make any shade of green.

But I don’t feel like it’s much of a stretch to include this color in my Soul of the Ozarks collections. France once owned the territory that includes the Ozarks, so it’s part of our rich history.

This isn’t one of my favorite pigments, but I use it a lot. The reason I am not so enamored is because the pigment is weak. It takes a lot of building to get a good green out of it, but it’s easy enough to get a sheer and light green tint.

Brown Sands

This color is a filtered one and the pigment is sheer tan brown. It is less textured than whole-stone paints.

Pink Sands

More Pink Sandstone Color Experimentation

I found a large chunk of pink sandstone last week and earlier this week while I had the help of my friend Allyssa, we started work on a good-sized batch of pigment.

The chunk of pink sandstone after I broke it into smaller chunks.
The chunk of pink sandstone after I broke it into smaller chunks.

Since I had such a nice amount to work with, I decided to separate this stone into the various weights that make up the shades of pigment in it. What I hoped was to get more of the pink somewhere in there. But none of them are truly pink.

What I ended up with were heavy weights, middle weights, and light weights. Then I also separated out super lights from the light end. This is a long process involving water washes and precipitation of the particles.

Separating the heavy, middle, and light color shades from pink sandstone.
Separating the heavy, middle, and light color shades from pink sandstone.

Shades of Pink

Here’s what I have so far. There weren’t much ‘middles’ so I made a gouache of that. A gouache is somewhat more opaque than watercolor because it contains calcium carbonate (limestone). If I add this to a paint, it makes it go farther. I’ll also make a gouache of what’s left of the ‘lights’, to see if it’s different than the middle pink gouache.

Shades of pink sandstone. Still waiting on the rest of my lights to settle so I can make a 'lights gouache'.
Shades of pink sandstone. Still waiting on the rest of my lights to settle so I can make a ‘lights gouache’.

Want to Buy?

If you want any of my sets of paints, for now either find me at one of the shows I go to, or email me for an invoice. The experiment isn’t finished yet and those paints aren’t available. But Collection No. 2 is (I have 4 left). They’re $30, and are packaged to make great gifts. 

Once I’m done with this year’s shows, I’ll set up the items in my online shop here and maybe also at Etsy. That should be somewhere around the end of November. By that time, I should also have another collection of 6 colors.

Day 11 – Nature Journal Series

A nature drawing for my Nature Journal series: Leaf on Water

About this journal entry

My son says my nature sketching looks like a turkey feather. It is not. It is a leaf half submerged in the water, haha. Can’t have the world at large making the same mistake.

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.

Nature Drawing in Progress: American ginseng in October

Two years ago I made a nature drawing of American ginseng in October, with yellowing leaves against the dark backdrop of the Wild Ozark forest.

Repeating the Same Nature Drawing

Since that time I’ve learned a little more about certain techniques I can use with my pencils, specifically blending, and so I wanted to re-draw the picture so I can enter it into a contest.

Usually I like to scan each step as I go along with a drawing, but for this one I forgot. This one picks up at the blending of the background stage.

Background First

You can see in the image that most of the drawing hasn’t been blended, only the very bottom part.

Although I have some color on the leaves and plant itself, I have barely begun on that part of it and have a lot more color layers to add before blending for that part begins.

Nature Drawing by Madison Woods. Background stage: Beginning the blending.
Background stage: Beginning the blending.

 

 

 

Needs More Detail

Once I finished blending the ground background, I decided I wanted to add some more form to the surroundings. So I added a christmas fern, one of ginseng’s habitat companions. Now it balances out the empty woods surrounding the main object.

Looking at it from Different Perspectives

When I scan each step, I’m doing more than just recording a step in the process.

When I look at the picture in another format, like on the computer or the small screen of my phone, I can see things I didn’t see in the original.

The first image I posted showed me that the background was too empty.

The next one showed me where I have spaces that are too light or need *something*.

"Ginseng in October", a nature drawing in progress. Ground floor background blended.
Ground floor background blended.

At the base of the fern and on the lower levels of the background above the floor, it needs to be darker and I’d like some vague suggestions of more fern to the left.

Here it is again, with the background blended, after I added darker lower levels and a bent fern frond to the left.

Background finished. "Ginseng in October" nature drawing in progress.
Background finished. “Ginseng in October” nature drawing in progress.

Foreground Next

The next step will be the dried leaves at the bottom. Those two dead leaves are the foreground. Once I get those done, I’ll start working on the ginseng plant.

Halfway There

Here it is again with the dead leaves done, and the background finished. I’ve just begun working on the ginseng now.

Ginseng in October, in progress

I really like drawing autumn and winter leaves. Here’s the dead leaves, closer:

Zoomed in on the dead leaves.

Signing off for today. So far, this has been several days of work. Today was the first day I spent the entire day on it, though.

Tomorrow I should be able to get this wrapped up and I’ll post the finished scan …

And here’s the finished drawing:

Ginseng in October by Madison Woods. Prints available.

The first drawing

I didn’t know about blending at all yet when I drew this first one. But that really didn’t matter at the time to me, because I drew it in situ, and it was only meant to be a journal entry. It was late in the afternoon and dark in the woods, and finding the plant to begin with was unexpected.

ginseng in october
Ginseng in October, the nature journal entry

I’m glad I have it now to go by, since I didn’t get any photos of the plant that year. Now I can’t find the same plant at all.

The Blending Process

The blending takes a long time. It’s tedious and it makes my arm and eyes hurt if I don’t take plenty breaks. So just finishing the background alone could take several days of steady work at blending.

I’m not sure if there’s an easier way to do this step or not. I saw on one tutorial video that the artist used mineral spirits. Well, I tried that and it didn’t blend very well at all. Perhaps we used different brands of pencils.

The Tools

I use Prismacolor. The only set I have right now is the Premier Soft Core and a colorless blending pencil. I need a set of the VeriThin, but that will have to wait until after the taxes get paid for this year.

The paper I’m using is a water-color paper for Epson printers. It comes in very large sheets that I have to cut down to size. Our printer does fine work for smaller art prints, like those I use on my note cards. And this is archival quality acid free paper. However, for larger than 5 x 7 prints, and especially those I sell as “art”,  I use Scott’s Frame and Art (Scott Imaging)  in Fayetteville.

Stay Tuned

I’ll post updates to the work as I make progress. Let me know if you have any tips!

ETA is the end of the week because there’s a deadline involved for the contest I want to enter.

If you’d like a print, stop in and see me at the Downtown Rogers Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, now open year-round!

Here’s their FB page and ours:

Just a few Photos of Butterflies, Kings River, and a Ginseng

Not enough time to make a decent post lately, so figured I’d at least put up a few of the photos I’ve taken in the past few days of August. Click on them to make them larger.

Oct 18, 2015 – Old Rock Wall and Dead Leaves

Nature Journal Entry Oct 18, 2015 - Old Rock Wall and Dead Leaves

I made a mistake on this one.  This is an old rock wall and it continues in both directions for some length but in the sketch I didn’t give that appearance. What I should have done was draw some lines to outline the continuing rocks if nothing else.

Instead, what it appears to be is a stack of a few rocks rather than the line of rocks the wall makes.

Getting the color on the single leaf near the center was difficult because I didn’t have a red pencil. But using purple and orange came close to the deep maroon it actually was.

Nature Sketching Day 21- Down the dirt road in October

I’m not real good at trees and landscapes yet. I can do single items like leaves fairly well, but the larger view pushes outside my ability. Maybe with practice I’ll get better.

Wild Ozark Nature Sketching Day 21- Down the road in October
… stop and take a few photos (finished the thought on the back side of the page).Wild Ozark Nature Sketching Day 21- Down the road in October

 

Nature Sketching – Day 17 “Grape Fern and Fall Leaves”

Wild Ozark Nature Sketching Day 17- "Grape Fern and Fall Leaves"
Wild Ozark Nature Sketching Day 17- “Grape Fern and Fall Leaves”

It gets hard to find a subject to draw that doesn’t include dead leaves at this time of year.

I at first wanted to draw this pretty beech leaf nestled on a darker sycamore leaf, but decided against it in favor of the grape fern instead.

I never did find the creature causing the noise under the leaves. Perhaps it was a sound I could only hear with my back turned, because every time I turned around to try and see it, the noise would stop. As soon as I returned to sketching, the sound returned.

When I was finished with my drawing I did spend some time near the ground trying to find the source of the sound, but it was for naught. I never did see anything, and it never would do whatever it was doing while I was looking.

Perhaps it was only my imagination? I’ve found caterpillars chewing my tomato leaves by sitting nearby and listening until I’d narrowed down the location. I’ve found springs by following drip noises as water made its way down mountainsides.

I don’t think I imagined it. I just didn’t spend enough time investigating.

Nature Sketching Day 15 – American Ginseng in early October

I went out in search of beech drops for today’s sketch. I didn’t find any. On my way up the path toward the pond, though, I found something exciting.

Today’s nature sketch features American ginseng in early October. The leaves are yellowing now, the fruits have all fallen, and winter is coming.

ginseng in october
Ginseng in October

This American ginseng plant is growing in an unexpected spot. It is not one I planted, and I would have never thought to look for wild ginseng in this location.

This makes it all the more exciting. It’s growing on the downhill side of a cedar deadfall, among poison ivy and one pawpaw tree sprout along with some other scrappy little saplings of unidentified sorts. The trees overhead are dogwood, elm, and cedar. Besides the pawpaw, the only other typical companion plant I saw was a grape fern.

I would have to describe the site as a recovering location. It looks as if it was on the outskirts of dozer damage when the logging road was used last, which had to have been fifteen years ago. We only use it now for the 4-wheeler, but it’s still wide enough for a small pickup to fit through.

Aside from the ginseng I found withering remains of twayblade orchid and a Lady’s Tresses orchid, also on the decline.

If you are interested in more information about American ginseng, we have a lot of articles at our home site.

Nature Sketching Day 14

At this time of year it’s even harder than usual for me to make a quick trip to town and back. If I bring my camera with me, it’s a guaranteed impossibility.

Today I had to stop for photos of the Felkins Creek valley as the sun was setting.

Wild Ozark Nature Sketching Day 14-Evening Light on Hillsides
Nature Sketching Day 14-Evening Light on Hillsides

 

Thank you for visiting and sharing this moment in space and time with me 🙂

Nature Sketching Day 13 – Green Grass in Fall

I always like to see green grass in fall among the dead leaves.

Yesterday I missed my sketching. I missed the day before that too, but had taken a photo of the leaf so I could draw it later. But if I don’t just let that one from yesterday go, I’ll never catch up again. So I’m taking a hit on that one. No post or entry for Day 12.

Today’s drawing is from my garden. It’s very windy outside today and the pollen blowing everywhere has my sinuses in an uproar. So I didn’t go far from the house to get this one.

Wild Ozark Nature Journal Day 13- Tender Green Grass
Wild Ozark Nature Journal Day 13- Tender Green Grass

Nature Sketching Day 6 – “Lobelia Inflata”

Today I went out on foot, backpack loaded with my towel and cushion to sit on, sketch journal, and pencils to do my daily entry for the Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

Once I found my subject, this aging Lobelia inflata plant, I settled down to tune in with my surroundings. Turned out that the towel and cushion weren’t very effective at masking the fist sized rocks underneath. So after some adjustments I was able to get semi-comfortable.

Unlike the past drawings (except the first one), where I tried to minimize the background, this one I chose almost specifically *because* of the rocks stacked behind the lobelia plant. The first was also chosen because of the rock.

I love rocks. I love collecting them, especially the ones with fossils embedded. I also like sitting on them. When I find a rock to sit on, I like to just listen. When you sit alone in nature you’ll hear a lot of sounds. At first you’ll hear the loudest, closest, or most prevalent sounds. But then you’ll start to notice the other more subtle ones that are usually overlooked by people in a hurry on on a mission to get from point a to point b.

A creek trickling in the distance, maybe just a drip-drip-drip from a slight elevation drop before the water goes back beneath the sands and rocks during a dry spell.

Insects drone and buzz, sometimes annoyingly close to ears and eyes. Sometimes it is even more annoying when the buzz suddenly stops, because usually that means it has landed…on me.

Squirrels overcome their irritation and alarm chirps and resume normal chatter and chirrs. I know that’s not a real word – WordPress has informed me of that with the red underline. However, I don’t know how else to describe that particular utterance they make.

Anyway, I liked the rocks stacked behind the lobelia plant and so today I decided to make them more real and less just shadows behind the subject.

It takes more time to do it that way, but today I had more than the allotted hour to make my entry. As the light faded and the details of the leaves became harder to differentiate, I had to speed up and get it finished.

Wild Ozark Journal Day 6- Lobelia inflata
Wild Ozark Journal Day 6- Lobelia inflata

Nature Sketching Day 3 – Sycamore Leaf

Each day I’ve picked what I think will be a simple subject. Today’s was a single sycamore leaf with no effort to include background, foreground or any other difficult or distracting thing.

Then as I settled in and began my art I entered the deep observation mode. Did you know there are hundreds of tiny clearly visible veins in a single leaf? There’s no way I’d have time to draw all those details in the short amount of time allotted to this task. So I decided to worry about the main ones and focus more on color.

So color is another issue altogether.

Turned out that my simple leaf wasn’t so simple after all. Perhaps nothing ever is.

Wild Ozark Nature Journal Day 3- Yellow Sycamore Leaf
Wild Ozark Nature Journal Day 3- Yellow Sycamore Leaf