There's a beach about a mile from my house where these little guys hang out. New Zealand has the pied stilt and the black stilt - but pied/black hybrids are common, which is what these birds are. Like the rest of my little studies, this is a quick oil done on gessoed masonite.
Time for another chickadee. I've not done one for a while and I do love painting them....though they're not always the easiest bird to paint. This is one of the reasons I've painted so many chickadee studies - hoping it'll get easier. This one didn't quite 'jump off the brush' but it came a little easier than some. I had to fight to keep the background simple.
I love painting roads - maybe because I like travelling but I think it might be a compositional thing as a road is a handy tool to lead your eye into a painting. When painting on location, if there's no road in the foreground, I'll often suggest a path if the composition is a little lacking. A good example is a 24"' x 36" oil I did a few years ago, Soft Rain Falling. This is one of the few paintings I've kept. It hangs in my living in New Zealand to remind me of some happy painting trips in the hills of San Diego County.
I'm not sure if this New Zealand Teal is the extremely rare Pateke (Brown Teal). I saw the bird at The Kiwi Housein Otorohanga, south of Auckland. My artist friend, Lindsay Scott, lives a few hours south of me in Tawharanui where she has the Pateke breeding on her property, so I'll ask the pro what she thinks!
Sometimes, keeping my studies simple is like pulling hen's teeth. This little guy didn't take me any longer than the other studies - but the detail happened in spite of me fighting it all the way. As I keep saying, the purpose of my studies is to become more painterly - to say more with simplicity and brush work. Two steps forward and one step back. I know many collectors love detail but by the time many artists have been painting for 30+ years, we want to say more than detail has to offer. I want to paint mood, light, color......which doesn't require more brush strokes but rather saying more with each brush stroke.
This is a New Zealand Falcon. They're found in most parts of New Zealand but are considered an uncommon endemic. Endemic = a species that is natural or native to a specific place. I've seen a few but the harrier, an abundant native, is most likely the bird of prey that you'll see in New Zealand skies (or on the roads)! I see them flapping madly trying to lift a dead possum or hedgehog off the road before getting run over. Consequently, I've seen quite a few flat harriers on New Zealand's highways.