Drawing lessons and an Accipiter cooperii

July 15, 2008

I went in the museum an extra day last week to indulge in some painting; something I have not been able to do much of lately. I wanted to work a little bigger than usual, and rather than working from a static study skin, I looked for mounted specimens. There was a decent mounted specimen of a Peregrine Falcon I have been eyeing for some time, but I settled on what looked to be a juvenile Cooper's Hawk or Sharp-shinned hawk. It looked too large to be a Sharp-shinned. In any regard, I treated it as a Cooper's and altered the plumage coloring to reflect that of an adult. Dave helped me to locate an adult specimen to used as a reference. He pulled out a male from a drawer and I was taken aback by its rather petite size. I then remembered that the males of this species and of Sharp-shinned are considerably smaller (by several inches) than the females.

Drawing from a three-dimensional object seems so much more difficult for me than drawing from memory or a photo. I would draw a line and glance up at the hawk, only to have it stare back as if to say "Don't you think my wing is a bit too short? Grrrrr!" Observing and drawing in this manner is an exercise, and if not done on a regular basis I find the skill will quickly languish. My first couple attempts to sketch the creature were a bit rusty, but I eventually got it worked out well enough. I painted for 3 hours, and relished the luxury of sitting in the quiet meditation of observation, and drawing.

7/22 - Just posted to the Etsy Shop.


  1. great job! I was hoping you'd do some raptors soon!

    this would be awesome as a screenprint too, or a giclee!


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