Thursday, September 28, 2006

The August issue of Birding World magazine has my oil painting of a female Little Bittern on the front cover:

This is only a detail of the whole painting, and is flipped. This is the original in frame (already sold):

The picture's habitat is in my home district in Budapest, a little wick by the smaller branch of the Danube River. With this painting and as it was published internationally I would like to pay tribute to this small wetland. A memory of it's state from my childhood, because it was destroyed some years ago.
Here's how I liked it (in June 2003):

See also my acrylic painting in the Gallery of my website.

And after the 'habitat restoration' in April 2005:

A picture from July 2005. Some thin reedbed can be seen on the opposite bank (compare with the pics above). Nothing on the closer side (there was a small peninsule here with thick reedbed, where most of the birds bred).

In addition they built an ugly wooden bridge over the entrance:

There are construction works there again, they cleared the surrounding shrubbery where several pairs of Nightingale bred.
I would like to send my personal thanks to all who are resposible for this habitat destruction. Probably they want to create some 'nice' parkland with a 'charming' little pond...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I've spent 2 days sketching in Kiskunság. I've been concentrating on Shorebirds for my next work. I was lucky to study a juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper (annual rarity here) from a close distance with some other species:

Wood Sandpiper (hiding from a hunting Peregrine Falcon in the middle):

Here's a photo of the Pectoral:

And the site:

I've started the next day on another alkaline lake, but the birds were quite distant so I moved to a new place after completing this page:

In the afternoon I could see some Stints and Plovers quite close on a drained fishpond:

It was really difficult to concentrate on my Shorebirds when such beasts flew down on the mud within scope-views:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Monday, September 18, 2006

A quick watercolour of a Red-breasted Goose in snow. I'll have an article in the winter issue of Birds Illustrated magazine with my friend, Jonathan. It'll be about late winter birding in Hungary based on our trip here at the end of February, early March. We have seen this beautiful Goose together in Kiskunság, and I wanted to include it in the article (the previously posted Wallcreeper was also for this).

The colours of the original is a bit different from this scan (the snow is not this purple, it's Cobalt Blue).

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The painting is finished. I've roughly blocked the bird in yesterday. I used paper cutouts to establish the best position of it, and to choose the right size.
Today I decided to change the posture of the bird. As I mentioned before, this wing-flipping is a very quick motion and probably this more relaxed posture is more characteristic of the Wallcreeper.

Here is the first idea for the bird:

And a closeup of the finished one:

I've received the catalogue of the Birds in Art exhibition of Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum ( today. It was really exciting to see all the other 100 artists' works, and of course seeing my Peregrine in it. See my previous blog for the details:

See my friend, Jonathan's blog for his selected artwork at

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I've finished the icicles today (and so the background). I tried to distinguish the more translucent, melting icicles from the opaque ones. I've introduced some cliffs to the right upper corner. I felt it better putting some rocks there than having ice all the way up on the right side. Probably I'll paint an addititonal icicle hanging in front of this patch. Will see.
Here are 2 stages of the ice painting, the first one as I finished yesterday evening, and the final result:

Here's the work in progress. I'm working in our dining room instead of my studio (because this latter is in a different building, and my family would not see me all the day).

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The cliff face is finished (probably small adjustments will be done). I'm not a geologist, but tried my best with the limestone.

Will work on the icicles now.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I'm concentrating on the cliff. I want to catch the character of the limestone. I mostly use flat and filbert brushes I think these are perfect for this type of rock).
My feelings are quite changeable, from the total frustration to some promising ones. But I know this is always the same at the beginning of every painting.
I roughly sign the main cravities (still with rough sienna). I try not to copy every inch of my photographs and sketch, but trying to capture the character of the limestone.

Now I add some colours, mainly a somewhat peachy orange for the sunlit surfaces:

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I've started to paint a new oil painting. It will show a Wallcreeper on the wall of a quarry in Hungary with some icicles. I did some sketching the end of February and we could observe this bird in a regular wintering site. There was this icicle on the cliff that caught my imagination. I did a quick sketch and several photographs.
First I did some rough pencil sketches to build up the composition. When I was happy with it I've looked for the good posture for the bird amoung my references. In the field we had only quite quick glimpses so there was no way to obtain some sketches. I try to avoid painting Wallcreepers with open wings as it's only a quick motion, but probably will choose such posture for this painting (the bird will be quite small on the picture so I want the red patch on the wing to draw the attention to it).

This will be a big painting, 60X50 cm. I quickly drew the shapes of the icicle, the shadows and the rocks with rough sienna. The shadows will be quite warm coloured so it's good if this sienna colour will shine through.

This is my field sketch of the icicle:

And these are my friends in the quarry when we saw the Wallcreeper:

Friday, September 08, 2006

I've just received sample copies of a new book with my illustrations. It's about animals and plants in cities by the French publisher Delachaux et Niestlé (
Some sample pages:

I found a dead nightjar hit by car in Kiskunság yesterday. I've sketched it at home today, concentrating on the wings. I suppose that this was a first year male, as there was a small white spot on the first right primary.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I've just finished this Long-tailed Tit plate showing the 2 European subspecies. This is for an article in Dutch Birding.
I used gouache for this piece as I wanted to have experience with this medium (I used it many years ago, but turned to acrylic). I want to know whether gouache is better for painting soft plumages and fur. I've added some acrylic to these birds eg. for the whitest parts of them. Probably I'll use these 2 mediums mixed in the future for my plates.

Here's an older Long-tailed Tit illustration done in acrylic for comparison: