Thomas Anderson

"Short-billed Dowitcher"
Ink, 22" x 15"
©2019 Thomas Anderson

This was the first piece to come after a long break from painting. I had worked in my sketchbook, I had played in PhotoShop. I wanted to get back to how I thought in my 20s, when I was prolific and ambitious. I wanted to get at the core of why I want to paint birds. I have been using ink as a medium since I started to draw and paint, so it was a natural and obvious choice to return to it. The compositions had to be simple and graphic. I love shorebirds because of the beautiful but subtle and hard to see patterns in their feathers. Few look very closely at these birds, and probably fewer realize they have a rather intricate breeding plumage and a bland non-breeding plumage. Dowitchers often arrive at Bolsa Chica in the summer with the beautiful spots and chevrons in their wing feathers before acquiring more uniform gray-tan colors during their fall and winter stay. This helps them blend easily in with their salt marsh surroundings. Dowitchers are a bit larger than Sandpipers, and can be hard to distinguish amidst flocks of Willets and Godwits foraging in shallow water. I think these birds are worth looking at more closely. That is the only thing this piece is about: exquisite creatures with exquisite feather patterns. Nothing else to focus upon.

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