A calm jay painting: First Friday Art

California scrub jays are usually a loud and active kind of bird. I shared this painting I did of a calm jay exactly four years ago today after a hectic political season. I wanted to show that a sense of calmness can return even after a time of chaos.

Calm jay by Siobhan Sullivan Oct 2020

The jay pictured above, and the one below, appear calm on the surface. But underneath those calm exteriors, there is a flurry of activity. Their minds are running through a lot of “what ifs” and their bodies are ready to spring into action.

Jay getting a drink

Today we are facing many challenges and “what ifs.” It may be difficult, but I hope you’re able to capture moments of calm, no matter how brief, before you flutter to your next destination.  

First Friday Art

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American kestrel study in pencil: First Friday Art

American kestrel study

This month, for First Friday Art, I’m sharing an American kestrel study I drew in pencil. When I took an ornithology class in college we learned about anatomy by studying specimens in a museum.

These sketches helped me learn more about birds, but they also turned out to be great tools for future works of art. I have referred back to them when working on pen-and-inks and paintings.

Here’s a photo of an American kestrel I saw in Malheur National Forest last year. They have beautiful coloring.

Kestrel in Malheur National Forest, Oregon April 2019

Do you have some artwork you would like to share? Use the First Friday Art tag.

Grizzly Drawings – pencil and pen & ink: First Friday Art

I’m sharing grizzly drawings for First Friday Art this month. I found this pencil drawing tucked away in a forgotten file drawer. This bear, in a typical bear pose, is feasting on a salmon.

Bear drawing in pencil by Siobhan Sullivan. September 2020

When I flipped the pencil drawing over, I found this on the back. I forgot it was there! The fur is not drawn realistically, but this stylized pen-and-ink is interesting. The bear looks so content.

Grizzly drawings by Siobhan Sullivan. September 2020

Maybe I’ll let these grizzly drawings out of their lonely drawer and do something with them. There must be an empty wall somewhere…

Do you have some artwork you would like to share? Use the First Friday Art tag.

Outdoor pronghorn painting: First Friday Art

Outdoor pronghorn painting by Siobhan Sullivan August 2020

Here’s an outdoor pronghorn painting I did in our backyard. It’s the first Friday of the month so it’s time to share your First Friday Art. If you have artwork you would like to share, use the First Friday Art tag.

We have an 8 x 16 foot shed in the backyard and it had a boring blank west-facing wall. It needed something to make it more interesting. I thought of painting a pronghorn, one of my favorite critters.

Out building prior to painting near Bend, Oregon August 2020
The shed prior to painting

I developed an appreciation for pronghorns many years ago when I did fieldwork at Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in southeastern Oregon. Pronghorns, AKA antelope, are native in parts of western North America and they’re common at the refuge.

Steps taken to create the outdoor pronghorn painting

First I brightened up the side of the shed with some leftover light blue paint. Then I sketched out the pronghorn from pictures I had taken, supplemented with other source materials.

Sketch of pronghorn July 2020
First sketch

For some people doing the initial sketch is easy, but it’s not for me. Do you know what the picture below is?

Eraser dust on plywood July 2020

Eraser dust! I did a lot of erasing and redrawing.

The next step was back painting the silhouette of the pronghorn. I used an off white paint – more leftovers – to help the colors pop.

Back painted silhouette by Siobhan Sullivan July 2020
Back painted pronghorn

Next I sketched over the white paint.

Sketch over back painted painting by Siobhan Sullivan August 2020
Sketching over back painting

Then I painted in the big blocks of color and added shading. The last thing I paint is the eye. It can give a painting life.

Outdoor pronghorn painting by Siobhan Sullivan August 2020
The finished pronghorn painting

A dead juniper branch and igneous rock collected from my property helped the painting fit in with our High Desert setting.

Juniper branch, rabbitbrush, & rocks near Bend, Oregon August 2020

There will be more High Desert creatures added to this piece. I’ll start work on a badger, black-billed magpie, and golden-mantled ground squirrel.

I filled up some of my empty space (and empty time) creating this outdoor pronghorn painting. Hope you are finding time to be creative!

Tiger painting in acrylics: First Friday Art

Here’s a tiger painting in acrylics I did on a small wooden box. I liked how the eyes turned out on this piece.

It’s time to share artwork since it’s the first Friday of the month. If you have something you would like to share, use the First Friday Art tag.

Tiger painting in acrylics by Siobhan Sullivan July 2020

Prairie falcon pen-and-ink: First Friday Art

It’s already First Friday again! Today I’m sharing a prairie falcon pen-and-ink drawing I created. This drawing shows their dark “armpit” marking. That’s one of the ways to distinguish them from peregrine falcons.

Prairie falcon pen-and-ink by Siobhan Sullivan

Here are a couple glimpses of a prairie falcon flying high above the 9,734 foot peak of Steens Mountain in Oregon.

Prairie falcon from the peak of Steens Mountain, Oregon 28 August 2019
Prairie falcon from the peak of Steens Mountain, Oregon 28 August 2019

Share artwork you or someone else created with the First Friday Art tag.

Happy Friday!

Feather on scratchboard: First Friday Art

Here is a crow feather on scratchboard I created long ago in a scientific illustration course.

On the first Friday of every month, the city of Bend usually hosts an art walk through the galleries in town. The galleries serve snacks and drinks and highlight local artists. Since the First Friday event is not happening this month, I thought I would share a piece of my own art.

Do you have artwork you would like to share? You can include a First Friday Art tag on your post.