Tuesday, April 1, 2008


White-breasted Nuthatch © Navroth 2008

Black-capped Chickadee © Navroth 2008

Belted Kingfisher © Navroth 2008

Red-breasted Nuthatch © Navroth 2008

As a life-long artist, it seemed like a natural step to turn my brushes in the direction of birds. Having recently read a biography of Louis Fuertes Agassiz, and how some of his art was used on the vintage Arm & Hammer Baking Soda trading cards (of which a have a few), it made me want to take a crack at small-scale bird portraits. So I have been doing small (2.5” x 3.5”) watercolors on 140 lb. cold press paper and vellum Bristol board. I like the idea of working small, as it requires a minimum of time to accomplish and you don’t have to necessarily put in a lot of detail to get your point across.

Painting also let’s me spend some time with a particular bird, to study its shape, size and color. It affords me the opportunity to think about it more closely and learn more about it. I find that the act of painting is very meditative and calming, letting me focus my attention on only what is front of me. I generally have music playing and that too helps me focus. By the end of a painting session I may not even remember what I’ve just listened to!

A lot of art supplies are not required either—some good-quality watercolor paper, some half-way decent brushes, and some watercolor paint. Not much room is needed to do the work, so it can be done almost anywhere. This is good for me, because at least one of my cats is always determined to lie underneath the lamp while I paint!

I’ve put up two of the paintings on Ebay to see if I can stir up some interest. If it goes well, I may do more. Selling an original painting is sometimes hard, but the bidders seem to bid higher if it’s an original. Another good reason to stay with the small-sized art!

[Composed while listening to Future Sound of London "Lifeforms." An excellent electronic piece from the late 80s--and one of the most original electronic bands around.]

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