Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Distracted Parent!!!

My model - the distracted parent
"Me ... me ... come after me - my wing is broken"

My drawing, initially focussing on the head

First w/w applications of a warm grey-brown and some black
The eye done with a brighter orange - quin. sienna

Adding more burnt orange, and intensifying the detail of the head

Lovely burnt orange, applied w/w, using both a thin and also much thicker mixture, and intensifying the details of the head and neck

Tail feathers painted w/w with the warm brown then thick black dropped onto the tips and allowed to flow

A bit more detail added to the tail feathers, and she is done
"Distracted Parent"  33 x 28 cm
I debated whether to add some background - probably some light sponging  at the bottom with  the grey-brown to suggest ground. But I decided the tail feathers had become the focus; anything around them would be a distraction.
Colours used - quin. burnt orange, quin. sienna, quin. pink, quin. violet, indanthrone, cobalt blue
We have killdeer here all year round, and quite often they nest in the field, riding ring or even the manure pile. After the chicks have hatched, they are immediately able to run - and they do - like the wind, all over the place. Their parents must have quite the job keeping track of them. When anything "predatory" [including me apparently] comes near to the nest or the chicks, mom and dad immediately go into what is called distraction display. They make noise, and spread their wings and tail feathers, and sometimes even seem to limp along to give the impression that they are helpless, so the "predator" goes after them rather than the kids. All righty - that's the Nature lesson for today!

Thank you so much for dropping by.


  1. Making a subject out of routine things around is a talent in itself. Lovely work. Thanks for sharing the process.

  2. Beautiful painting and thanks for the Nature lesson :-)

    I've never heard of this bird before so checked it out on Google and now I understand why it earned its strange name. Suex

  3. I enjoyed the process and the finished painting, really beautiful.

    We got rid of our 'chicks,' but they came back and left their 'chicks' with us. They in turn left, but have come back with their 'chicks.' I keep jumping up and down and shouting, 'There they are!' But the predators fly-off .... :) 4 generations for Christmas Lunch!

  4. What a pretty little birdie and his distraction display is just beautiful!

  5. Beautifully painted! I thought at first you painted a wounded bird, until I read the info. :)

  6. You are so amazing! This is beautiful!
    Even with a migraine,, we see how beautiful this is!

  7. they are such neat birds :) use to see them once and awhile in Alberta, its a very cool survival technique

    your painting looks really nice without a background focusing just on the bird :)

  8. Poor bird and very well-done work! Arianna

  9. This is fantastic! Thanks for sharing the steps - it was fun to see the bird take shape :). There were killdeer all over the university when I was there - not sure they are still there (so much has been built up) but it was fun to see the little ones running all over the parking lots and green space :)

  10. Interresting story about this parental strategy. This bird is a real actor.

  11. Very interesting post about your process and the bird! And absolutely the right decision to not add a background; it would have been distracting. The bird is lovely on its own.

  12. I agree about the tail feathers - they are lovely and so well done! Your post reminded me of a killdeer that nested in our backyard one spring when we lived in Connecticut. It was great fun watching all the protective shenanigans of the mother and the speed of the little chickees! Thanks for jogging my memory!

  13. Ah Kathryn love this distracted parent. You have captured the subtle colors in this special bird beautifully. We enjoy this species here as well. Don't seem to see them through the harsher winter months but by March they seem to be back in our field. Always enjoy seeing your step by step process. Hope you and Maggie and Bruno are having a good week. Hugs!