Sunday, November 16, 2014

Amateur Memory Drawing

I never draw out of my head, just can't do it.  This pitiful bird drawing, which looks a lot like a stuffed penguin with an elongated tail, or maybe a fat dove with a strange red tail, is a drawing that I made from memory of an astonishing giant bird that I saw today while walking in downtown Asheville enroute Whole Foods from the Y.  This bird must have been 18" from head to tail.  It zoomed in like a low-flying plane right overhead and landed heavily on a telephone wire very close to where I was standing with my mouth hanging open.  Two small birds were flying near it, but when it landed they took off.  I dug in my bag for a pen but worst luck-- no paper at all to draw on.  I stood there memorizing the shape of the bird.  It was silhouetted against a bright overcast sky, so it looked dark gray but with white belly.  After a few minutes it took off, and I saw its reddish brown tail.  The tail was blunt and not tapered or swallowtaily.  I saw the bird dive down between a house across the street and a garage, but I couldn't see what was going on.
I looked up giant gray-black raptors with reddish tails in NC on my phone right away, and I think this thing was a red-tailed hawk.  When I got home I painted from memory the painting on the other page (as well as the flying version, which was so surprising with that bright red tail).  Then I copied a red-tailed hawk from the web page, only I adjusted the illustration to reflect what I actually saw.  According to the page the grey-black top part can have white spots and streaks, but I didn't see any.  I hadn't even noticed the yellow feet and beak, but I believe that was what color they were.  At any rate, there was no other raptor on the web page that remotely looked like the bird I saw.  The real identifying feature for me was the red top side of the tail.

The little orangey moons are some that I carved earlier today for an book that I'm working on.


  1. yep, red tail hawks are pretty big and that red tail always gives them away. aren't you glad it wasn't you it was after?!

  2. Replies
    1. Artists' book, not book book. And thanks for verifying the hawk! I trust your opinion!

  3. a good book of course. i saw one of your books lately, but didn't actually purchase it (it was from the 90's i think), but i almost did! i'm on a tight budget presently.