Wildlife

Contemplation-2021
"Contemplation", acrylics on canvas, 12" x 24" - 2021

I was inspired to paint “Contemplation” when I noticed a pensive crow sitting in absolute peace one warm and bright day in late autumn.

Attitude
"Attitude", acrylics on canvas, 20"x 16" - 2019

Christine Moss’ photo inspired me to paint this beautiful flamingo titled “Attitude” and she kindly gave me permission to use her photo as reference. I changed the eye to project a different look, one of attitude. After all, attitude is everything. The deep pink colouring I chose is usually found in flamingos from the West Indies and Florida where they feed on a specific type of shrimp. I was surprised to learn these birds don’t usually weight more than 8 pounds. Flamingos are the giraffes of the bird world and their bills are flat on the top for sweeping the sea bottom to get shrimp, small mollusks, algae, and assorted microbes. They have an extensive filtering system.

"You are Such a Goose!", oils on canvas, 20"x20" - 2019 SOLD

“You are such a goose!” is based on Canada Geese we encountered while walking the trails at Wye Marsh in Midland, Ontario. The geese were walking ahead of us on the trail and made us laugh as they waddled side by side. They seemed to have nowhere in particular they wanted to go and certainly weren’t concerned about us. Although we weren’t able to get ahead of them, I used my photos from that day to re-create the scene that made us laugh.

saw-whet-owl
"Saw-whet Owl", acrylics on canvas, 24"x18" - 2021

While walking a trail in Algonquin Park, we stopped to look up when we heard several Chick-a-dees vocalizing a loud and frenzied commotion. The cause for their concern was this tiny Saw-whet Owl perched high up among the pine trees.

"Caesar", oils on canvas, 20"x20" - 2020

Caesar is a peacock that belongs to a friend and this particular peacock is something to behold. He very much epitomizes the pride and cockiness of the peacock – a very handsome, strong, and contented bird.

"The Old Tree at the Lake", acrylics on canvas, 20"x16" - 2020 SOLD

The Old Tree at the Lake” is all about the tree. The crow just happened to be there at the moment I captured this calm but eerie morning at the lake. Shortly afterwards a storm rolled in. This old birch tree stands at lake’s edge at our Haliburton cottage. Its root ball is anchored in sandy soil and serves a cluster of several narrow trunks. The tree makes up for its small size with its strength. It’s amazing how this tree survives storms with high winds sometimes lifting one side of its root system right out of the ground. For 34 years we’ve watched this tree manage everything nature throws at it.

Common Loon
"King of the Lake", acrylics on canvas, 11"x14" - 2020 SOLD

King of the Lake!“, acrylics on canvas, 11″x14”

Curiosity Framed
"Curiosity", acrylics on line canvas, 10"x 8" - 2020

PRIVATE COLLECTION – I used the colour and texture of a linen canvas to create a mat around this serene image of a loon and its chick. I was relaxing at lake’s edge at our cottage near Haliburton watching a loon with a chick comfortably nestled under its wings. I was surprised when the loon came close but then it suddenly veered off and away from me. The chick was focused on me, and I suppose was just curious. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was the first human this little chick had seen. I was fortunate to witness and photograph the beauty of this moment.

"Autumn Chick-a-dee", mixed media on 300 gsm watercolour paper, 6.5"x 5" - 2019 SOLD

Autumn Chick-a-dee” is watercolour, gouache, and ink and was part of an exhibit of small pieces in July 2019.

"Evening Crow", acrylics on masonite, 8"x10" - 2017

I kept a journal when we lived at our cottage near Haliburton for 18 months. On October 3,  2007 I wrote about seeing a crow at water’s edge. There’s nothing unusual about that, except this crow was fixated on something and stood absolutely still. At one point it lifted a leg but then slowly put it back down without advancing. What was it watching? I remained as motionless as I coud to take a photo, fully expecting the crow to fly off. Surprisingly, it didn’t move. I took two photos before it decided to move quickly further down the water’s edge, still fixated on whatever it was watching.

"Cliffside Shadow", watercolour on canvas, 12"x12" - 2019

I wanted to create an image of a bird soaring beside a smooth weathered cliffside to have a dreamy feel about it. As I worked at building the cliff, a smokey feeling emerged. I used Schminke gold and silver watercolour paints selectively on the cliffside and added some touches of silver to the bird. These two Schminke paints have a subtle richness to them and lifted this painting to the level I wanted. I protected the canvas with two coats of Gamblin Cold Wax Medium. See Tulipa for more information on how I used cold wax to frame watercolour without glass.

Rooftop Gathering
"Rooftop Gathering", acrylic on canvas, 16"x20" - 2016

One autumn day under ominous skies, I watched crows gather on a shed roof at Centreville Wharf on Digby Neck, Nova Scotia. It was a welcome sight from the ever present gulls.

Brown-Crested Duck
"Crested Duck", a.k.a. "Louis", acrylics on canvas, 8"x10" - 2020

Any duck breed, except one which I cannot recall just now, can have a crest on top of its head. The crest occurs as a result of a genetic mutation in the duck’s skull formation. The resulting skull deformity allows the duck’s plummage to become tufted and so form a crest of feathers on the top of its skull. The eye on this particular duck seems to follow me around the room just like the proverbial painting in a haunted house. As long as he’s with me, he has the name “Louis”.