Monthly Archives: January 2020

Tanager Project 2 update

Brassy-breasted Tanager (Tangara desmaresti). Watercolour on A3 paper.

Having completed the first run of Tanager painting (22 species including the Bananaquit which isn’t a Tanager but has been tentatively classified as one until more research is done) I decided to undertake another Tanager project.

As I mentioned last month I have to decide on the style and size of the paintings. I am still thinking about this since a number of considerations tend to constrain the project whereas I want to paint all 22 birds that featured in the first project.

Another consideration that impacts the project is the reclassification of Euphonias and Chlorophonias that used to be considered Tanagers but have now been put into a group of their own (Euphoniinae). This brings the number of Tanagers down to 17 if I also exclude the little Bananaquit.

The first project has 26 paintings in it. This includes a couple of birds that I painted in two versions, separate paintings of male and female of a species, and the Brazilian Tanager which I am not sure if I have seen as I don’t have a photo of it.

To help me in selecting a style I painted the Brassy-breasted Tanager, above, on A3 paper.

I find that as the subject becomes larger on paper I need to paint either much more loosely or in much finer detail. Once I have decided on this aspect I can select the paper size and may even go to A2!


Violet-capped Woodnymph

Violet-capped Woodnymph (Thalurania glaucopis). Watercolour on A3 paper

Latest watercolour painting. Still getting settled into a routine while dealing with domestic/administrative issues. Also working on a set of requested pieces.

This beautiful species of hummingbird is found in the south of Brazil. I saw a couple of these occasionally on the Graciosa road near Curitiba, Brazil, a few years ago and got photos.

The Graciosa road was a great place to see wildlife: toucans, tanagers, hummingbirds, trogons, raptors and many more plus monkeys, insects and the occasional snake. I used to go there once a month, arriving at dawn, having coffee and picnic breakfast while the mist cleared (Atlantic Rainforest is often covered in mist/cloud) and photographing whatever I could, including landscapes and plants. I miss those days.

Ink and watercolour

Bell tower of the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Trapani

This sketch was one of over 50 paintings that I completed last month while in Erice, Sicily. I have just arrived home after a two-day journey from Erice, via Palermo, Rome and Lisbon (overnight in Lisbon as is my normal practice), and have not done any painting since just before Christmas.

I will need a couple of days to get settled before setting up my easel, paints and brushes but I do have a long list of subjects to keep me occupied for the foreseeable future including a couple of commissioned paintings. These do not have short deadlines so I can plan to my own agenda.

The first thing for me to do is journal work to get my coordination and mixing skills back up to speed. I prefer to paint every day, even just a simple sketch is enough, but after a three week break I really need to practice a bit.

The Sanctuary

I passed the Sanctuary, which has the Cathedral Garden and the Agostino Pepoli museum in its walled grounds, on my way to buy some art materials. The shop’s supply had diminished considerably since my previous visit, but at least I managed to get some more reference photos.