These fellas, as you may recall from an earlier post of mine, are Stephens Island Wrens, the only known flightless passerine—and unfortunately extinct. Pretty happy with progress on this one too, so far—which is good, because these lovelies inspired me to do this whole thing in the first place. :) More Gouache! The empty space will eventually have type in it.
Gouache painting of a spectacled cormorant eating a young pacific cod—one of the 12 extinct birds I hope to paint for for my directed projects class.
I also hope to be awesome at gouache by the end of this. I am winging it a little, with some amazing advice from mangycoyote.tumblr.com. :)
More to come!
Many of my friends are concept illustrators for games and animation (see timkaminski.tumblr.com and zacktjones.tumblr.com for a couple of them). I’ve always enjoyed making critters up as much as I do drawing real ones, so I figured I’d give some creature designs a shot.
Ornithomalleus mimicus, (common name = Janus leaper), is about the size of a medium-sized dog and one of the bigger species of the leaper family. It is primarily insectivorous (dragonflies are a favorite—the big ones), but it has also been known to steal eggs and young hatchlings of other creatures. Its signature tail feathers give the impression of two heads, hence the name. When threatened by a predator and unable to escape through conventional means, the Janus leaper lowers its true head, spreads its two long retrices apart and waves them in the air. The predator usually takes the bait and attacks the end of the leaper’s tail, which is only a deposit of fatty tissue and feathers. The distraction is usually enough for the leaper to flee with its life, and the tail regrows in a few weeks (though the feathers take longer).
The reason for the head shape is at this time unknown—both males and females exhibit the stalked eyes. Because male eye stalks are typically longer than females, however, some believe it is a result of sexual selection. A consensus has not yet been reached, though an expedition to learn more about the Janus leaper’s sexual behavior was recently funded by the NSF.
(All of the above is fabricated! :) )
I would like to keep a “bird journal”, where I record every bird I see during the day and do a quick little sketch of it, but I don’t think I’d have the time to keep up with it. Maybe I’ll just do them intermittently, on days where I see notable birds and/or have time! :)
Today I saw the first goldfinches of spring, partaking of the birdfeeder outside the kitchen. :) At the same time, there was a dark-eyed junco, which my brain categorizes as a “winter” bird for my area. Then there were my regulars, a song sparrow and a mourning dove, with a robin skulking in the distance. I saw the mockingbirds on my way to run errands—they flew right over my window as I was at a red light. Lovely animals!