White-faced Ibis drawing & photos: FFA

This is a pencil sketch I drew of a White-faced Ibis. He is a character in a book I’m working on. The ibis, Arco Iris, gets his power from the rainbow obsidian stone he wears. Sometimes if you draw a character, it helps you write about their personality and physical traits.

White-faced Ibis drawing

I recently took pictures of White-faced Ibis in a field near Paisley, Oregon. The field was full of blue camas and it gave the scene a kind of magical feeling.

Ibis in a field

When you think of ibis, you may think of ancient depictions of this bird found in Egypt, but there are three species in the United States. You can find Glossy Ibis, White Ibis, and White-faced Ibis in parts of North America, Central America, and South America.

Inlay depicting Thoth as the ibis with a maat feather. Image source: Metropolitan Museum of Art, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The plumage of our local ibis looks black at first, but when you take a closer look, it’s iridescent. Their feathers catch the light as they plunge their long beaks into marshes and meadows in search of prey. They eat a variety of prey including insects, worms, and small fish. Ibis are particularly fond of crayfish.

Birds in a field

When in breeding plumage, some of the White-faced Ibis’ feathers turn a bronze color, their legs turn pink, and a mask of pale white skin around their eyes appears. What better way to attract a mate than putting on a mask, pink leggings, and a bronze cape!

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First Friday Art (FFA)

Peregrine falcon drawing, photo, video: First Friday Art

Here’s a pencil drawing I did of a peregrine falcon guarding its prey. I have been fascinated by falcons ever since I read accounts of Genghis Kahn hunting with them. Some of my earliest crayon drawings are of mounted riders carrying falcons. This site describes the 6,000-year old Mongolian tradition and features photos of falconers on horseback.

Peregrine falcon Siobhan Sullivan

On our trip to Ireland in March 2020, we looked forward to participating in the Dingle Falconry Experience in County Kerry. Trained owls and hawks briefly perch on your gloved hand before flying to the next participant.

This photo shows their peregrine falcon feeding after its flight. The falcon was only handled by the trainer, Andi Chewning.

Dingle Falconry Experience
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Hummers – sketches & photo: First Friday Art

Today I’m sharing pencil sketches I did of hummers in action. I’m also including a photo of a hummingbird hovering over a border planting in a garden. These very active birds are difficult to capture with a pencil or a lens.

Hummers in action

Did you know their heart can beat faster than 1,200 beats per minute? However, when food is scarce hummingbirds go into torpor, which is similar to hibernation. Their heart rate drops to as low as 50 beats per minute. Hummers are amazing birds!

Hummingbird 14Aug2016

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First Friday Art

Red panda sketches & photos: First Friday Art

Here are a few pencil sketches of a red panda I drew at a zoo. These animals are most active at dawn and dusk and when they’re asleep, they appear to sleep soundly. It’s nice to draw a critter who stays in one place for long periods of time. 🙂

Red panda sketches

This endangered species lives in a relatively small area of western Nepal, east into China. As shown in my photos below, bamboo is one of their favorite foods. With their dense, colorful fur coats and “cute” features, they make quite an impression on zoo visitors.

Their biggest threats in the wild include habitat degradation, hunting, and poaching. For more about red pandas, and to donate towards their conservation, visit Red Panda Network.

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The elegance of terns: First Friday Art

I have always been impressed by the elegance of terns. Terns in flight have pointed wingtips and some species have deeply forked tails. Today I’m sharing a stylized pencil sketch I did of a Forster’s tern. These wetland birds can be spotted in much of North America at certain times of the year.

the elegance of terns

Here are a few Caspian terns I saw at The Narrows in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, south of Burns, Oregon. They don’t have the black-tipped bill and forked tail of Forster’s terns, but still have the elegance of ferns.

Caspian terns

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If you’re looking for something artistic to do this month, consider participating in Inktober. Create a pen-and-ink drawing every day for a month based on prompts. Fun and challenging!

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

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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…

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