Tuesday, February 27, 2018

One Last Stab at Winter!

"Winter at Broken Kettle Grasslands"  
oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

3 weeks till Spring!  Can you tell I'm counting the days?!  Ha!  Well I really do not want to wish my days away so I'm not being quite that crazy - just looking forward to what the season change will bring.

But in the meantime I thought I'd work on a winter landscape that had been on my back-burner for several years; I don't do winter paintings or drawing that often and I thought what better time to get one done then before winter ends outside the studio.

The landscape is of a Nature Conservancy Preserve about and hour or so south and west of us - the Broken Kettle Preserve...an amazing place to visit if you have never been there!  This 3000 acre tallgrass prairie preserve has many native species that are usually only found west of the Missouri - extremely rare or unusual finds in Iowa.  It is the home to the largest 100% pure blood American Bison herds in Iowa as well as possibly the last place in the state with a breeding population of Prairie Rattlesnakes.  A really cool place!  Thank you to the Nature Conservancy for preserving and maintaining such a treasure!!!

Many years ago I did a quick painting of this preserve, more in an alla prima style (wet into wet) and I'll post that painting below.

"Broken Kettle Winter"  
oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)  

Winter is noticeably waning now with the increased length of daylight and the snow melt that we're experiencing.  I'd say this really reminded me of winters back in the 50's and 60's when I was a kid...we had some January and February thaws and many snow events...also some pretty frigid temps off and on.  But now we're hearing rumblings of early migrations building 2-3 hours south of us and did actually have a small flock of geese pass by this morning!  Oh I love this time of the year with changes taking place and something new every day!
"Male Red-bellied Woodpecker"  
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 
The only drawback to all this is I am too easily distracted and have trouble staying on task inside at the easel!  A couple days ago was no exception with the bird traffic outside the window.  This nice Red-bellied Woodpecker thankfully sat still long enough for me to get a picture!  Looking forward to more distractions in the yard in coming weeks!
Enjoying the warmup, hope you are too!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

From the Drawing Board

"Bald Eagle - Portrait" 
color pencil drawing - © Bruce A. Morrison

Its been...how shall I say this?  Winter!  Ya...snow...cold...ha!  Well you know how it is; winter is a time I used to go sledding, have snowball fights, cross country ski or snowshoe - but that was eons ago! (At least the sledding and snow ball fight part!)

But we've been making the best of it, staying warm and enjoying the critters we usually see more of this time of the year.  The Deer herd in the valley, and the yard...the birds around the feeders here, and the Bald Eagles flying through nearly each day...occasionally even fence post or tree branch sitting here too.  Just a couple weeks back Georgie and I were heading out to visit the area nature center (the Prairie Heritage Center) and as we drove south of here we passed a harmless Bald Eagle melee - 15 or more birds just having a wee old time playing around (and eating)!

I had toyed with the idea of doing a Bird Portrait of a Bald Eagle for some time.  I have a few photos in my files but the pictures I've taken of Bald Eagles are from the ground and I wanted to portray a more "formal" look, up close and more personal.  There is a Bald Eagle on display at the nature center and I look at this beautiful bird every visit.  I just recently finished the drawing seen above here.

With past "Bird Portrait" drawings I've usually concentrated on doing all those little passerines - perching/songbirds in the yard, but decided to change it up a bit; as in my past Bird Portraits, this too is drawn approximately life size. 

"Wenasaga Bald Eagle"
oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison

Many years ago I did a small oil painting of a Bald Eagle along a Canadian river we used to spend a lot of time vacationing at, but have never done a closeup like this before.  A very majestic and cool bird, whether up close and personal or at a distance!

Hope you're staying well this winter!  Thanks for stopping by!