Saturday, October 24, 2009


Please click on this towhee's image to make it larger; the truer rectangular shape of the sketch will result.

Here is a quick sketch of a towhee-- a Rufous-sided towhee--done from an even quicker thumbnail sketch that I did last Thursday after the towhee came into our yard. I'd never seen a towhee before, but I knew immediately that this was no robin. Look at that dark head! And upright tail.

The towhee was in and out of our apple tree and mostly on the ground below it, rifling around in the fallen leaves. Kicking around. ("Rifling" is an odd verb isn't it.)

This sketch is mostly gouache and charcoal. I did put in the white belly that bird books show, but I did not actually see the white belly. I was looking down from a deck and besides, the bird's belly was mostly covered amid leaves and stems and branches.

The thumbnail sketch here (below) impressed what I saw into my mind's eye until I could identify the new bird. Even now, the thumbnail brings the towhee alive to me. The bird books' photos are wonderful, and this gouache sketch gets something of the uprightedness of the towhee's look and movements. Still, it is the thumbnail that opens my live memory.

1 comment:

  1. Nice towhee!! They are quite something to see!