Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Two Studies for Today - Baby Quail & Red-winged Blackbirds

There's a storm coming with much colder temperatures and snow  :-(   so I had to tear myself away from the easel this morning to run errands.  But I did get my two 75 for $75's finished and photographed!  I can see that I'm straying away from the 'bird study' idea.  I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing - but for the moment, I'll see where it takes me.

The first study is of baby quail.  Many years ago I raised five baby Gambel's Quail from day old chicks.  Someone found the chicks huddled up against a big ol' toad on her sign of the parents.  As she watched, the toad suddenly decided it wanted baby quail for dinner.  Who would have guessed that a toad would eat a baby bird!   The baby was halfway down the toad's throat when she saved it.   She took all five babies to the local radio station and I ended up with them.  I didn't hear the toad story until months later - but had wondered why one of the baby quail had what seemed to be dry glue on his head.  Toad spit! 

I've since seen baby California Valley Quail and they looked exactly like these little guys.  I'm guessing that young Bobwhite look much the same. 

210 - Baby Quail
7" x 5" oil study on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S.


My second study for the day is of Red-winged Blackbirds.  Like the gull study that I did the other day, I painted little bird shapes with no detail, allowing the group of birds to have impact, rather than just one larger bird.  

211 - Red-winged Blackbirds
7" x 5" oil study on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Two oil studies for today, a loon and egret

I've had some emails saying, "but all your studies are sold"!  Actually, there are a few left - you can click here to see them - and I realize that you've got to click on each image to see if it is available.  FASO, my website company, used to put a red dot on the thumbnail as soon as it was marked SOLD.  I don't know what has happened to the red dot system - but I'll give FASO a call and ask.  UPDATE:  I called my website company and not only are the red dots back but the thumbnails are bigger!  Check it out!  Now you can see at a glance which paintings have sold.

To keep up with demand,  I can raise the price of the little studies - or paint more.  I'm really opposed to raising the price so I'm going to try to do two 75 for $75's a day. In time, I may go to an auction system (not Ebay!) but not yet.  So here are today's two studies! 
The first is a loon.  I resist painting loons because they sit so low in the water there's not much bird to paint,.  So in this first study,  I concentrated on interesting colors and brush work in the water.

 208 - Loon


The second study of the day is an egret.  I've painted quite a few egrets for the 75/75 project so I tried completely different brushwork on this piece.  It looks detailed - and I confess I used a smaller brush - but it didn't take any longer.  I flared out the bristles on a #6 round watercolor brush to paint it - and rather like the effect.  It's softer.  I can see using this technique for more tonalistic pieces.  

209 - Egret
5" x 7" oil study on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S.


Monday, November 28, 2011

A great article on my work and a new 5" x 7" oil study!

Today, Wildlife Art Journal released an extensive article on me and my work!  I'm really honored as it is a well-respected online magazine.  If you click on the link, you can read the article without subscribing.  Not sure how long it will be 'free' - perhaps just today.

Today's 5" x 7" oil study is of gulls.  I seem to be on a trend - painting smaller birds and more background.  If you'd like to see many of the other 5" x 7" oil studies that I've done for my 75 for $75 project, click on this link.  It will take you to the 75 for $75 page on my website.  There are still half a dozen or more available.  I've had to delete a lot of the sold 75's - just no room on my website!

205 - Gulls
5" x 7" oil study on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Today's Oil Study - Flying Cattle Egret

I've been wanting to figure out how to paint fields of green grass without decided to paint cattle egret in flight.  They're seen from coast to coast, but I often see them out in the middle of the desert at the California/Arizona border in Blythe and Brawley, both agricultural areas where it is not uncommon to see mixed groups of cattle egret and white-faced ibis. 

I like this piece for its simplicity.  I'm so used to painting great or snowy egret, I just shortened the necks and legs - and voila, cattle egret!

204 - Flying Cattle Egret
5" x 7" oil on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Today's Oil Study - Vultures! (but I'm keeping it)

This little vulture painting demonstrates exactly why I do these little oil studies.  I wouldn't have done a larger painting of vultures...afraid it would never sell.  But it doesn't matter if a study doesn't sell because I don't have much time invested in these little guys (a half-hour in this one).  Also, for this piece, I experimented using a pre-painted/dry board - an old 75/75 that didn't work.  I liked the background color so I saved the board and used it for this piece.  I've worked on boards that have been stained a color but never on thicker paint that is completely dry.  I usually work completely alla prima.  It was fun working on dry paint, allowing a little bit of the under painting to show through.  (the gray in the bottom right hand corner). For the background texture, I used thick paint on a large brush and dragged the brush edge over the board.  I also put the subject matter smack-dab in the middle of the board.  Why not!  It's only a study.  But I think in this case, it works because the eye goes to the large wing rather than to the center of the vulture group.

So this is why I do these little studies....I can be brave and boldly go where I've never been before. If it doesn't work, I can always turp it out.  If it does work, then I've got information I can use on larger, studio oils. 

I like this vulture study and am wondering if it will work as a larger piece, but perhaps it will lose the spontaneity if larger.  So for the moment, I'm not going to sell it.  With a tweak or two, it could be one of my two entries into Birds in Art 2012. 

203 - Vultures
5" x 7" oil study on board
Not for sale at this time

Friday, November 25, 2011

Today's Oil Study - A House Wren

Today's oil study is a little house wren..  I know spring is here when the house wrens sit in my apple tree and sing their hearts out.  I have a couple of nesting boxes that are occupied every year.  I watch the parents hop in and out the box feeding the young but I always seem to miss seeing them leave.

The paint on this study is pretty thick in some spots so it will take longer than usual to dry.  It might be a couple of weeks before it is dry enough to mail.

202 - House Wren
7" x 5" oil on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S.


Study for Thanksgiving Day - A Flying Hummingbird

I intended to post this yesterday but I had 12 people for Thanksgiving dinner. By the time the dishwasher was loaded and everyone had gone, I was ready to enjoy a glass of wine and call it quits for the day.

This is my post for yesterday - Thanksgiving Day.  It's a ruby-throated (eastern US) or a broad-tailed (western US) hummingbird.  There's very little difference between the two when you're not painting detail.

201 - Flying Hummingbird
5" x 7" oil study on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Today's Study - Red-Tailed Hawk

Today's study is way too detailed for me - but no time to do another!  My goal for the 75/75 project is to do loose studies, avoiding detail.  Oh well....

200 - Red-tailed Hawk
7" x 5" oil study on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Today's Study - A Flying Osprey

Today's 7" x 5" study is a flying osprey.  Every now and then I see one flying past my studio window as it cruises over the creek that is about 100 feet from my house.  It seems that osprey are always associated with larger bodies of water so it seems a little strange to see an osprey in red rock country hanging around a creek.  But there are large lakes on the rim above the canyon where I live, so perhaps the osprey is just doing a day-trip for a change of scenery.

 199 - Osprey
7" x 5" oil on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Today's Study - A Burrowing Owl

It's been a while since I've painted a burrowing owl.  They're cute little birds, looking a bit like a kid's wind-up toy.  I am now officially 'caught up'.  Will try to get a few extra done and in reserve for Thanksgiving and weekends so that I can post a study every day.  There'll be a new one up tomorrow.

198 - Burrowing Owl
7" x 5" oil study on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S.

Today's Study for Yesterday!

This is the oil study for yesterday.  As soon as I post another study for today, I'll be caught up with my goal to post at least one piece a day between November 15 and December 31st.

This 7" x 5" oil is of a Hairy Woodpecker. I see them on my apple trees in the winter along with the Downy (similar to the Hairy, but smaller), the occasional Northern Flicker and the Red-naped Sapsucker.  Years ago, I photographed a Red-Breasted Sapsucker on my apple tree, here in Northern Arizona.  As this bird is only found in the very western part of the west coast, certainly not in Arizona, I sent the photograph to Audubon.  It was published as a 'rare and unusual sighting' in the American Bird magazine.  Sadly, the next winter, I found it dead on my deck.

197 - Hairy Woodpecker
7" x 5" oil study on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S. 


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Friday and Saturday's oil studies

Today I'm posting two 5" x 7" oil studies - one for Friday and one for Saturday.  After all, I did say I'd post one a day between November 15th and the end of the year!   I've got a third piece almost finished but I've run out of daylight.  I'll post it tomorrow.

I painted the egret on Thursday but couldn't get a good photo of it so I've repainted some of the dark areas to make them more opaque as transparent darks don't photograph well. 

195 - Egret
7" x 5" oil study on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S.


My second piece is a White Crowned Sparrow - one of my favorite birds but I think this is the first one I've painted.  This study really is a 'study'.  Just the bird, no branch nor shadow.  I like my brushwork in this piece. 

196 - White Crowned Sparrow
5" x 7" oil study on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S. 


Friday, November 18, 2011

Grandkids take priority over painting!

There aren't many things that I allow to interfere with my time in the studio.  Family, mainly the grandkids, are the only things that can tear me away from the easel. 

This morning I was called into action as my two-year old granddaughter was sick and couldn't go to pre-school.  Her mommy works and daddy (my son) had a couple of book covers due today so I dashed to their house to spend the day playing "this little piggy" and to watch in amazement as she navigated her way around her daddy's Ipad. 

So unfortunately, there was no time for a 75 for $75 oil study today.  Does it count that I posted two yesterday?  Tomorrow, the two older grandchildren have their last soccer games of the season - so I won't be posting a study tomorrow either!

I will work hard on Sunday and will post THREE to make up for it. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 3 - Nesting Hummingbird and Thrush

I've been busy!  In addition to framing and packing three pieces for the Holiday Small Works Show at the Legacy Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona...I've also done two little studies for the 75 for $75 project.  I don't know what came over me - must have been the Wheaties I had for breakfast.  I actually did a third piece - a Great Egret, but darned if I can get a good photo of it.  I might have to wait until it is dry then put it in the scanner. 

A month or two ago I did a nesting hummingbird, which sold right away - and since then have had lots of requesting for another.  This little gal is really tucked down in her nest so you can't see much of her but I was happy with the way the painting worked out.

193 - Nesting Hummingbird 
7" x 5" oil study on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S.


The second oil study is a thrush - at least I think it's a thrush.  Maybe it is an oven bird?  I can't even remember where I photographed the bird, which would give me a clue. 

194 - Thrush
7" x 5" oil study on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 2 - Another Study - Hummingbird

This is the second 5" x 7" oil study for today - a hummingbird.  A broad-tailed or a ruby-throated?  It could be either....

192 - Hummingbird
5" x 7" oil study on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S.


Day 2 - A Canada Goose

I guess I've got Canada Geese on my mind as I spent the past week on Maryland's Eastern Shore at the Waterfowl Festival.  There are usually thousands of Canadas in the sky - long ribbons of them - but this year I saw very few.  I heard they are arriving late this year.

191 - Canada Goose
5" x 7" oil study on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 1 - A Nuthatch

Today is the first day of a new 75 for $75 project.  I will post at least one a day until the end of December.

Today's cheery little bird is a White-breasted Nuthatch.  I only seem to notice these little guys in the winter when the leaves are off the trees and I see them scooting up and down the trunk of the tree.  Is it the white-breasted or the red-breasted nuthatch that makes a beeping noise that makes me think the aliens have landed?

If you aren't familiar with my 75 for $75 project....I paint at least one 5" x 7" oil study a day.  You can purchase the paintings for $75 each, unframed plus $6 shipping within the U.S.  The painting will be shipped as soon as it is dry - usually in about a week. 

My son, Shane, plans on contributing a few 5 x 7's to this month's project.  He's up to his ears in commercial work but still would like to get a few done.

190 - White-breasted Nuthatch
5" x 7" oil on panel, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping with in the U.S.


Monday, November 7, 2011


I've been obsessed with fall colors lately, perhaps because that's what I'm seeing out my studio window...though right now there is fresh snow falling on the autumn leaves.  This little piece is an 8" x 8" oil on a gessoed panel.  It was difficult to photograph. The colors here are not 100% accurate but it is this intense. Perhaps I'll do a larger piece using these colors for the show in Charleston in February.

Traveller is a gift for the couple who are generously providing a home for me while at the Waterfowl Festival.  I liked it so much I painted a companion to it,  Into the Mystic, which will be available at the show. 

8" x 8" oil on panel

Sunday, November 6, 2011

All Clean and Ready to Go!

I'll be painting for the 75 for $75 project again, from November 15th through the end of the year. My son, Shane Rebenschied,  a commercial illustrator,, hopes to contribute some 5" x 7"s to the project.  As he's up to his ears in freelance work and deadlines AND has three kids, he won't be contributing a painting every day, but hopefully he'll have time for a few beauties.

He sent me this photo of his oil palette - all clean and ready to go!

Shane uses Turpenoid, but I have asthma so I use Gamsol which seldom bothers me.  He's done some research into mediums and decided that he'd like to try a mix of stand oil/linseed and dammar varnish.  I'll be curious to see how he likes it....but linseed oil scares me as it is so often the cause of spontaneous combustion.   We both like to work on glass palettes.  Mine is a sheet of thick, tempered glass, a door from an old stereo cabinet.  Shane's is an old aluminum framed window.  Glass makes a great palette and can be cleaned easily using rubbing alcohol.  Though artist friends who have seen mine will attest that it is seldom clean. 

Back to the 75/75 project:  I'll paint at least one 5" x 7" a day, maybe more, depending on how quickly I can finish commitments for some galleries.  I've promised new Southwest pieces to Windrush Gallery in Sedona, Arizona, I've still got a couple of small oils to finish for The Legacy Gallery's small works holiday show and I'm long overdue on new work for The Pierson Gallery in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The good news is that I've supplied  Walt Horton Fine Art Gallery in Beaver Creek, Colorado with new pieces and The Horton Hayes Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina, is well supplied too.  Legacy Gallery in Scottsdale also has lots of new work. 

I leave on Tuesday for The Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Maryland, which open on Thursday night and runs through Sunday evening.  (November 11-13).  I'll have close to 40 new oils so if you're in the area, come by the Armory on Harrison Street and check out my new work!  I'm back on the 14th and will start the 75/75 project on the 15th.  No rest for the weary...

p.s.  I've had a lot of people tell me that though they'd like to buy one of my $75  oil studies, by the time they see it, it has already sold.  I'd really like to keep these little guys priced at $75 - which makes art affordable to all and gives me the incentive to keep experimenting, learning and growing with the studies.  In time I may go to an auction system (not Ebay!) but for now, they'll remain at $75.  So if you would like me to send you an email when I post a new 75/75 study, email me - and I'll do a group email the minute a new piece is up.  Email:  adele.earnshaw at  Please substitute the 'at' with a @ and leave out the spaces.    I'm trying to foil the spammers. 

I'll be in New Zealand for three months - mid February through mid May, 2012.  I'm going to paint the 75's while I'm there - but will increase the price just a bit to cover the additional postage from New Zealand.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Process of Painting

I'm often asked how I go about painting an animal or landscape. I thought you might be interested in seeing the process for One Mile to Go, a landscape that I posted a couple of days ago.

In 1997 I painted a little plein air oil on location in Bear Island at Ace Basin, a wildlife refuge about an hour south of Charleston, South Carolina.  Working from several photos of the area and using the plein air sketch, I came up with the finished painting.  So yes, I do work from photographic reference - but no, I don't 'copy' a photograph.  From both photo and plein air painting I took the idea of the shadows across the road and the dark trees with 'sky holes' and incorporated them into One Mile to Go.

The Road to Bear Island
6" x 4" painted on location in 1997

Reference photo

One Mile to Go
finished studio painting, 18" x 18"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


This is a little 8" x 8" oil that will be one of 40 original oils that I'll be exhibiting at the Waterfowl Festival  in Easton, Maryland, November 11-13.  I really like the feel of this piece and would like to
use the idea for a much larger oil.

At the request of a few of the galleries that represent me, I don't give specific prices on my website - except for my little 75 for $75 studies.  A piece this size in a frame will sell for between $400 and $500.

8" x 8" oil on board