This is another in a series of osprey studies. Ospreys lack the supraorbital ridge which is so typical of predatory birds and this makes them appear wide-eyed and over caffeinated! I love the personality. All my pics of them seem to show them oggling the world. ‘Oggle’ is a funny word. Seems to suit them.
Today I was tidying up in the studio and re-discovered the Mungyo black pastels in my drawing stash. I used them in figure drawing classes but never did find the perfect match of paper to bring out the magic of this gorgeous dark crumbly charcoal. Today, I used cartridge sketch paper and my fingers to paint. A bit like finger painting when we were kids. Why did we ever stop?
I’ll combine a few images I have of this muse and her nest and switch to brushes and oil paint. The drawing will eventually end up being trashed and forgotten but the process of making my osprey oggle needs a repeat with maybe an owly owl, a heretic heron….hmmm.
Mother osprey is on guard against the interloper who has dared to enter the safety zone at the base of the platform of sticks and branches, sitting atop the telephone pole. She cries out a warning and flattens herself over the precious young osprey beneath her. The painting took 3 hours but the observation and sketches required more time and hey, who’s counting? I loved every minute of learning more about these beautiful birds. I might just be getting warmed up!
8×10 inches, limited palette of oil on gessoboard.
I love charcoal and I love these birds so….here’s another charcoal sketch of the osprey, nesting this past summer, at the end of our road. She was angry and screeching. I just know that she was saying something like, “Who goes there? Get losssstttttt!” She was flattened right down over the eggs underneath her and not prepared to fly and divert the predator (me). I will paint this one next I think, so have spent the afternoon sketching her and trying to compose and choose from different images of her in flight, arriving and leaving the nest, etc…
As I type this, I see that it’s a wet, chilly, November day and I haven’t even noticed until just now. So, hey, if you can’t take time to smell the roses in your busy life, may I suggest you try sketching them instead. It makes the rain go away.
Just a little sketch. 10 min. I grabbed a stick of charcoal and a piece of cartridge paper and lost myself in gesture and feathers and value and shape and thought about how the ospreys at the end of our road screech and circle overhead until all threats seem subdued and distant. I admire that.
Charcoal is messy and dark but never dark enough for me it seems. That’s why I do this. Set myself up for rejection at shows, online and with others. It gives me such joy to reconnect with the magic of hand and eye and life. This sketch is ephemeral-it will smear and disappear and I’ll get to draw another one. It’s what keeps me free–this gift of drawing–and untouched by the whirling dirvishes–missing it all–so sad.
Ospreys are like ravens and crows. Unpopular with the ‘dime a dozen, draw me something pretty that matches my decor’ bird lover. Rather, they are fiercely admired by those who appreciate the smart and independant spirit with wings. I like people who like ravens and crows and ospreys and their ilk. Think I’ll paint some more of these and keep them till the kindred spirits come to find them.