Field Artistry Class: RGVBF Style

Every November for the past number of years it has been a distinct privilege to attend the Lower Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival as a field trip leader. It is one of the most delightful, activity packed, welcoming and biggest festival in America.

In 2012 instructing a class about drawing birds with three long-time friends was one of the highlights. Field Artistry was taught by Sophie Webb, Michael O’Brien and Louise Zemaitis, and myself.

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Michael O’Brien uses an open wing to show where feathers are located and their functions.

We selected one of the premiere birding locations in the valley, Estero Llano Grande State Park.  The park provided a several great spots to watch birds coming to feeders. In addition, just off the Visitors Center viewing area is a pond where Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Least Grebes, and other waterfowl either swim or perch within feet of the class.  There was also a nearby classroom for a short indoor presentation.

State Park Naturalist Kyle Haver brought out study skins which were really helpful in explaining bird topography, learning about feather placement and wing/tail structure, and drawing from.

During the day we drew live birds, specimens, and from projected photos.

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Sophie Webb discusses drawing a specimen while Michael O’Brien overses from behind.

We hope to offer this course again in 2013.

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