Friday, February 17, 2012

Ode to the Oystercatcher

As much as I want to keep talking about and posting pictures of the Black-Headed Gull that has pretty much taken up most of my life this past week (in a good way, of course), I'll give our regular readers a break.

Taking advantage of the bout of free time that I've recently had, I thought what better way to get the creative juices flowing than to paint. It's been quite a while since I have painted since I can't seem to find the time between birding and the other minor things in life I have to do. So now that I have a few extra moments, I decided to paint a lovely subject, the American Oystercatcher. I have dabbled in bird drawings, but not painting.

Work in progress: The thumbnail sketch, the outline on canvas, and the photo of inspiration

You may recall that we had an unforgettable close encounter with a pair of American Oystercatchers in the Spring of last year. Flipping through our old photos, I was inspired to paint this lovely bird with his striking orangey-red bill against his black head and white belly. She's so ultra chic! And when you really look closely at the eyes, you are amazed at how those golden eyes pop with that orangey-red color showing up again in the eye ring. 

Completed Painting of the American Oystercatcher

As I used a photo that I took as a model for my painting, I noticed an even more intriguing characteristic of the eye of the bird I was drawing. If you look even closer, you see this shadowy mark or fleck under the pupil. I have since discovered that this marking has been linked to determining the sex of the bird! Check out this article in the Journal of Field Ornithology for more information. Very neat stuff!

Painting in the living room

So I hope you enjoy this painting as much as I do! It was great fun to do and a learning experience. You really learn to pay attention to details when you have to recreate a bird on paper or canvas.


  1. Love the Painting Maureen! Of course I am very partial to oystercatchers. I like the close up and how fancy its eye is. Diana

    1. Thanks so much, Diana! It was great birding with you today!

  2. I love that you learned something interesting about the bird while painting it...very neat. Quite a cool painting to have hanging on your wall too!

  3. Very beautiful painting Maureen, you are a very good!