Boat Tailed Grackle – Quiscalus major

I just finished this little painting for the upcoming exhibit on songbirds for the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators. The show will held this fall at the Highstead Arboretum in Connecticut.  The first image is what it looked like in graphite. After I render everything in graphite I use gouache to cover the graphite.  For those of you that do not know what gouache is, it is an opaque watercolor. I like this method of painting because my graphite drawing can be changed and corrected before I put color on. Graphite can be easily altered without ruining the paper. I also find that I can see my graphite drawing as I layer the gouache on top so it reminds me of where the darks and lights are and the direction of the surface contour.

I really enjoyed researching the bird and would have liked to put put both the male and female in the painting but instead decided to do "Dad" and "Baby". The female is  brown, very different from the male. "Dad"  shows off his stunning plumage with shimmering glints of emerald, ultramarine and PURPLE against his all black body. I am always a sucker for bright and flashy!!! In some parts of the country they have brown eyes and in others they have yellow or gold eyes. I decided that I would show him with the gold eyes as it is more dramatic.

As the GNSI show gets closer I will let you know the dates that it will be open and the times.