Rhinoceros Studies-Indian Ink on Paper

Drawing is both an artist expression and a way to understand and study the subject of the art. In this case, using some photos I took at some various zoos, I did studies of two species of rhinoceros. The head studies of the black rhino really helped me get proportions and details correct with each attempt. I usually do these sketches in pencil or pen, but here I use washes of Indian ink on paper. This is a slower process, but the result was very satisfying. Colored versions of the Greater One-horned rhino and baby can be purchased here. And the Black rhino head study can be purchased here.

Ornate Hawk-eagle-Acrylic on Paper

The Ornate hawk-eagle is one of my favorite birds of prey. They can be found in southern Mexico and into central and south America. This particular bird has been on my list to paint for some time. I took some reference photos of the Ornate hawk-eagle at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise ID. I used India ink, acrylic washes and some metallic acrylic paint on paper to create this illustration. This will not be my last illustration of this subject.

Barred Owl in Flight – Acrylic and India Ink on Paper

Two paintings of a Barred owl in flight

Barred Owl in Flight

It has been a while since I’ve pulled out the paints and brushes. It takes a bit of time to get the feeling of the brush and control of ink and paint. Which is why you see two versions of this painting. The goal was to create an artwork to celebrate a volunteer who has been with HawkQuest Inc. for twenty years. This piece was also a chance to memorialize one of their animal ambassadors who passed away this year. A very sweet little Barred owl named Shakespear. You can learn more about HawkQuest here.

These are some of my first wildlife work to use some metallic paints. This provides some nice highlights and luster to the originals that can’t be easily reproduced in prints.

Female Kestrel – Acrylic on Handmade Paper

Painting of a female American Kestrel puffed up to stay warm

This painting of a female American Kestrel, the smallest falcon we have in North America, is “puffed up” on a cold winter morning. This painting is my annual contribution to the HawkQuest holiday party. HawkQuest a wonderful environmental education outreach organization based in Parker, Colorado. A nonprofit with 35 non-releasable birds-of-prey which are used to educate the public about the role of raptors in the ecosystem and environmental stewardship. I’ve been a volunteer with HawkQuest for fifteen years now, and every year one of my paintings becomes a gift to a lucky volunteer. HawkQuest’s female kestrel is named Melody, the Kanji on the right says “Cold Melody”.

Closer Look (Pacific Parrotlet) – iPad Illustration

Pacific Parrotlet

Pacific Parrotlet

In the forests of Ecuador a curious Pacific Parrotlet comes closer to investigate. The second smallest species of parrots in the world. Actually this is a painting of our eleven year old parrotlet “Beaker”. I wanted to imagine him in a more wild setting. This artwork was created on the iPad using the Sketchbook Pro app. If you like this piece, prints are available for purchase by clicking here. You can watch me paint this piece in the time-lapse video below.

Closer Look (Pacific Parrotlet) created on the iPad from Raymond Cassel on Vimeo.

Brush Painting Practice

Chinese-brush painting
Happy 2015! I started the new year by practicing traditional Sumie or Chinese brush painting. For this practice session I chose a less traditional 93lb or 150 gsm drawing paper instead of rice paper. The heron on the left is based on a photo I took in Oregon of a Great Blue Heron in silhouette on a misty, wet day. I think the horses are the hardest subject to capture in this expressive style and I have to force myself to be less illustrative in form and more stylized. And because 2015 is the year of the ram, I had to paint one at the bottom. Nice creative start to 2015.