Sunday, August 9, 2015

Wildlife Moments

My newest painting, Looking for Dinner -- Redtail Hawk, depicts what could become one of those nature documentary-types of moments... or it could be nothing at all!

Joshua Tree National Park,Joshua trees,redtail,red tail,hawk,desert cottontail rabbit,Mojave,clouds,yellow flowers,goldenbush,rugged mountains
Looking for Dinner -- Redtail Hawk               11" x 14"

In the air, we see a redtail hawk sailing effortlessly over the Mojave desert, making one last pass for tasty goodies before the sun sets -- coming close to what could his/her dinner. That cute little desert cottontail bunny-rabbit probably doesn't know about the hawk yet, but it's OK as long as it stays put. But if it hippity-hops into the open, it just may become a meal!

I won't reveal where the bunny is -- I hope you can see it. But I wanted to do a piece that tells a story -- as brief as it is. Prey-predator relationships. Life and (maybe) death in the surrealistic desert.

The setting is Joshua Tree National Park, with some of its namesake plants scattered about. The dominant tree is leaning toward the south -- unfortunately, Joshua trees have a bad habit of growing toward the sun. When they get bigger, they're off-balance, and in time will topple over. Not ALL JTs work out their self-destruction in this way, of course, but it isn't unusual to find places where all or most of the JTs have that characteristic lean.

The small mountain in the background has become one of my favorite geological features in the Park to paint. Most of the hills and formations in Joshua Tree National Park are unnamed officially -- often, the climbers come up with names that they share with each other, but the National Park Service never went around naming everything. So I just call this mountain "the peaks." I like all of the pointy projections for some reason. This paintings shows "the peaks" reasonably accurately (the peak on the far left is shorter than I've made it here).

The hawk is the sharpest item detail-wise and contrasts strongly with the lighted area of the peak behind it. It's also located at one of "golden mean" points of the composition. All this tends to make you look at it, although the JT in the foreground does some of that, too. The bunny, of course, blends into its background -- natural camouflage.

Wildlife moments. Kinda fun sometimes!



Lori DeCoito said...

Mark,I realize it's not proper to speak of things like this but I just woke up with your blog still on my phone. This must be some kind of online affair or something, lol, but seriously I must stop falling asleep in other people's thoughts. I was going to comment and read everything!!! I also must stop having so much ambition at night or I need to learn how to take naps. I H8 naps. It's that protesting little girl in me that doesn't care to sleep in the middle of the day. Anyhow, I've got my coffee now and am heading to FB to check things out. I just wanted to tell you that I believe your doing very well for an "OLD" guy. Having abandoned myself and my art because I don't know exactly where it all went. That's sounds terrible huh? Well a couple computers where my art was on the hard drive have been lost or stolen from me. Not to mention 100's if not a couple thousand pictures are up in a cloud or something. Idk anymore and quite frankly I'm to the point where I don't even care anymore. Long story. Sorry... back to you. I may have to sue someone at some point but I don't even like how that sounds. Our whole country has become sue crazy and let me just say things have changed so much over the years. It seems to me you have done real well on making an online presence. Plus being able to say you have been a full time artist for 15 years and before that a photographer for what was it 20 or 30 years? In any case that's nothing to shake a stick at. That's an accomplishment in itself. So stop putting yourself down and enjoy your life. I myself believe that a little animal hidden somewhere in every painting would be an awesome way to get others looking for you and at your paintings more closely looking at it as if it's something that parents and children can do together and keeping it educational at the same time. Well, what do you think?

Mark J said...

Thanks for your comments, Lori (althogh I'm sure they meant to appear on my latest post!) ☺

I hate to say it here, but sadly, for as long as I did photography and then painting, I never made money at it. It's been suggested I live in the wrong part of the country to sell my style of paintings (even the desert landscapes), but nowadays, traveling is too much of a gamble to do on speculation, and I'm not physically up to it anyway.

Hence, the latest idea is to paint as a hobby only for as long as I can. ☺