Friday, March 10, 2017

Painting & Learning More About Ravens


Caw (c) Pat Dolan - 2017 - 12"w x 9"h

I've started to read about the Raven population and am finding it quite interesting. I have 2 books, both by Bernd Heinrich, Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of Vermont. The titles: Raven in Winter and Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds. His writing style is both informational and amusing. He provides plenty of antidotes which embellish his prose, to say the least. As a professional biologist, he has made a study of the Ravens since the mid-1970's or so. Actually, he reminds me a great deal of our son-in-law, also a biologist and an author - who can make information about trees, bugs, plants, stones, and the like absolutely fascinating!


Anyway, I'm not too far in the first book, Ravens in Winter, and the author has proposed plenty of theories and had most of them dashed by the objects of his studies. The stories make a great accompanyment for my painting of individual Ravens as photographed by Wendy Davis, a wonderful photographer living in British Columbia. She posts "Raven a Day" on Facebook, which is how I found her photographs. So captivated was I, that I wrote and asked for permission to use her Raven photos as reference material for my Raven portraits. She graciously agreed, and also recommended the two books that are enriching my experience of these wonderful birds.


Above, "Attentive" in process. Below, completed painting "Attentive" (c) Pat Dolan 2017


Below, three stages of "Preening" (c) Pat Dolan 2017

First stage of placing lights vs. darks on the painting, making sure of composition.

Second state, toning down lights and darks, or accentuating them, as needed.

Final state, adding appropriate details to capture the essence of the Raven as he preens his feathers.

Below are two photos of the early stages of "Caw" shown at the top of this entry. I started boldly, then tones down the lights to captivate this Raven cawing.



All Raven bird portrait paintings at this time are 9"x12" painted on black canvas with acrylic paints. Most are available for purchase.

2 comments:

victoriakaloss said...

Your paintings combined with your writing/storytelling makes me feel like I'm in a pack of Ravens. Thanks for the book titles too, always have time for a good read!

Pat Danielson said...

Pat! Your ravens are spectacular! Thanks for sharing your process as well as the finished images.