søndag 6. april 2014


Spring came very early for me this year, as I went to southern Israel to welcome the masses of birds migrating north from Africa. Eilat has been high on my list for years and years, and I was thrilled when NSKF, the Norwegian rarities committee, decided to stay for a week at Kibbutz Lotan from March 29th. We did a lot of work going through new and old reports, but we also spent many rewarding hours in the field. 
I didn't really know what to expect, other than very good numbers of migrating raptors and passerines. The raptors were definately there, in good numbers, but we struggled a bit to find the right spot to observe the migration from, as they constantly changed their course with the shifting winds. Other birds were more accessible, and the highlight for me was to wander around in the patches of dry woodland, enjoying the masses of warblers passing through. The most common phylloscopus was the Eastern Bonelli's Warbler (furusanger), but the Willow Warblers were just starting to arrive as well. One of the most beautiful birds of the trip for me, was the male Rüppell's Warbler (svartstrupesanger), which was actually (at least for us) the third most common of the sylvia warblers, after the Lesser Whitethroat (møller) and the Blackcap (munk).
I managed to do some sketching, and I'll post a bit more in the near future. The sketches here were made in the field, but in some of them, I added the colour after returning to the Kibbutz. Painting with watercolours in 30 degrees is a bit of a challenge, as the paint dries really quick, and I couldn't sit for too long as I was part of a group of non-fieldsketchers!
Anyway, the birds in this post are Black Kite, Rüppell's Warbler and Bee Eaters. The last ones flew around above me as I was eating my lunch at Lotan.

fredag 11. oktober 2013

Drypoint printing

My brilliant job has again allowed me to do some artwork during working hours. We've arranged an art workshop, with different printing techniques as the main focus. I have tried drypoint myself, carving the motive into a plexi-glass plate with a sharp metal tool, smearing the plate with black ink, and then removing the ink - except for the ink remaining in the the carved-out lines. In the eagle print, I have mixed two techniques. I put som watercolour on the paper before I made the ink print on top of that. It's a rather long process, but once the plate is ready, the advantage is that you can make as many copies as you like. I also like adding the colours, because each copy then at the same time becomes unique. Also, it's essential to put the colours on the paper first - trying to paint with water colours on top of the ink print would leave a terrible mess.
This is definately something I'll try again, the result reminds me of the pen drawings I made when I first started drawing birds, ages ago.
By the way - I just returned from Crete, where a pair of Bonelli's Eagles in one of the southern gorges was a magnificent birding highlight!

søndag 28. juli 2013


So, I'm back on track again, at least temporarily. I've hardly done any field work during the last year, and not as much studio work as I wanted to. However, a few days ago I got to spend a few hours at Mølen again, and I really enjoyed drawing and painting in the open again. There are always birds to study at Mølen, at any time of the year, and this time I enjoyed the company of three juvenile Great Black-backed Gulls. I did quite a few quick sketches while they were moving around, and one more detailed study of one bird resting. Hopefully, I'll be able to do more work like this in the months to come.

torsdag 14. mars 2013

Liebster Blog Awards

Recently, I've recieved the Liebster Blog award from two of my favourite fellow bloggers, Måns Sjøberg and Jose Sencianes. It is always an inspiration to be noticed, and especially by artists that I admire. Apparently, these are the rules of the Liebster Award: 1. Thank the person who gave you the award. 2. Link back to their blog. 3. Copy and paste the Liebster award to your profile. 4. Pick five blogs that you feel deserve to be in the spotlight. They must have 200 followers or under. 5. Blog about it and leave a comment for your nominations to let them know that you have chosen their blog.
So here I go! Even though it's hard to pick only five, I am going with these:
Måns Sjøberg. Måns was one of the main reasons why I started drawing birds again about 8 years ago, when I found his book on how to paint birds. His blog is always a lesson on the importance of keeping things simple!
Jose Sencianes. Jose is a Natural Born Field Sketcher. He has his own unice style, and is never afraid to use strong colours. He has a great knowledge of the birds he is drawing, as I experienced first hand when I had the chance to spend a day with him in Doñana last year.
Juan Varela. Juan is undoubtedly one of Europe's finest bird artists. His blog is a joy, and so is his web page, where the selection of field sketches is my personal highlight.
Antonio Ojea. Another Spanish artist who I admire! He is a genius in digital painting, but his watercolours are to me even more brilliant. 
Federico Gemma. For a field sketcher, Federicos blog is an absolute must. He has a unique, fluent style, and paints landscapes, buildings, birds and animals with great authority!

I would have liked to include artist like Szabolcs Kokay, Fransisco Hernandez, Pascalis Dougalis and Tim Wotton in this list, but I know that they've been awarded by others.

tirsdag 13. november 2012

An owl again, and Eilat by internet.

I went to Jæren just over a week ago, for a meeting in the Norwegian Rarities Committee, with hopes for some quality birding along the November beaches. We had many hours in the field, mainly searching the coastline for new arrivals after a few days of winds from the east. Unfortunately, we didn't find any rare passerines, unlike the lucky birdwatcher who found an Isabelline Wheatear the day after our departure, just a few miles from where we had our meetings. We did, however, get to study a Hawk Owl, and a member of the committee (Oddvar Heggøy) found a Yellow-legged Gull, the first ever in the county of Rogaland.

We decided on a trip to Eilat in April 2013, and I've started to do some sketches from videos on the internet again, of species that we'll encounter during our stay in Israel. I am trying to pay more attention to "stance" than plumage, the birds are Isabelline Wheatear, Woodchat Shrike and Caspian Tern.

fredag 12. oktober 2012


It's once every decade that I do any twiching (twitching means travelling to somewhere to see a spesific bird), but I make exceptions for Ural Owls. This huge raptor is extremely rare in Norway, with just a few known breeding pairs. They hardly ever venture outside of their territories, so when a young bird suddenly appears at a golf course just south of Oslo, it's major birding news. I went looking for it two days ago, but unfortunately, it decided that I was not worthy. The day before I left, I did some Youtube-sketching, just to get a feel of the bird. Now, that's all I'm left with, plus a sketch of I Tengmalm's I caught and ringed at Mølen last night (that's drawn from photos).

torsdag 27. september 2012

Alive, but not kicking

It's been a while since my last post. Summer has come and gone, and is never the most productive periode for me. Ideally, I should have painted more now, but I've had problems with my back for the last couple of months, and need time to get back to normal. I just managed to paint this raven, after having made the pencil sketch ages ago. It's fun to work with different shades of black, and my main focus in this one was to make the plumage look irredescent. Hopefully, I'll get some more work done in the weeks to come.