Eastern Bluebirds

Recently finished a 11″ x 14″ piece of a pair of Eastern Bluebirds, and just wanted to share this as a quick update. I don’t have any other work in progress at the moment, but will share once I start up again.

I chose to add pink Dogwood flowers in the background as a compliment to the bluebirds. The birds are a male and female pair, as you may note the slightly duller plumage on the head of the bird behind the brighter male.

Here’s the full image.

Eastern Bluebirds 11" x 14"
Eastern Bluebirds
11″ x 14″


Here is a nice closeup of the birds.



That’s it for now. I’ll post again soon.

~ Angela



Keel Billed Toucan Painting

Tried something new in my painting. Instead of doing my usual tribal style, I decided to attempt something that would help sharpen my realism skill level. Here are the process photos.

Early stage. I had laid down flat base colors and was working on the foliage in the background.
Early stage. I had laid down flat base colors and was working on the foliage in the background.
Starting to add more definition to foliage. Some highlights to the toucan as well.
Starting to add more definition to foliage. Some highlights to the toucan as well.
More work on the foliage highlights, and work on the toucan's beak. Adjusting some shades of the bird's yellow chest.
More work on the foliage highlights, and work on the toucan’s beak. Adjusting some shades of the bird’s yellow chest.
Nearly done. More work on foliage highlights and shadows. More overall highlighting on the toucan's body.
Nearly done. More work on foliage highlights and shadows. More overall highlighting on the toucan’s body.
Finally done, after adding some dark blue for shadows in the foliage, and finishing final toucan colors.
Finally done, after adding some dark blue for shadows in the foliage, and finishing final toucan colors.

I’m pretty happy with how this 12″ x 16″ turned out. Nice and colorful while still reflecting accurate colors/shades of the toucan. The background was done from scratch with no reference.

The Details Of Birds

Illustrating birds is a specialty of mine, and understanding just how detailed they are is part of that. That’s what makes the work fun, because there’s no end to the variety of detail with so many bird species.


inner workings of a feather

This diagram gives a great illustration of how a feather is put together. Birds groom themselves often to keep their feathers in good condition, thus keeping the interlocking ‘barbs’ looking neat.


pretty feathers
pretty feathers


There is nearly no end to the combination and patterns of feather colors on birds. Iridescence, scalloped, vividly, or earthy tones can all be observed in the world of birds. Parrots and other tropical birds tend to possess the most brightly colored plumage.


bird beaks
bird beaks
bird feet
bird feet

Beaks are adapted to the bird’s diet, whether it be cracking seeds and nuts, or tearing meat from prey. Feet are similarly adapted to the diet, suited specific to the environments where the food is found.



birds-eye birdEyeZ animal-animals-background-bird-birds-brown-eyes

Eyes are as varied as feathers. Tropical, woodland, and predatory birds all have eyes suited to there environmental niches. Bird eyesight is many times better than human vision. They can see in the ultra violet spectrum, and polarized light( which is said to aid them in migratory flight).

Parrots in particular have a funny thing they do with their eyes called ‘pinning’. They can shrink and expand their pupils rapidly according to mood, and other behaviors. It can be a sign of excitement, or impending attack dependent on how the bird is perceiving the situation.


All images borrowed from google search. I do not own them, and I’m only using them as examples here.

New Color Pencil Works, and Recent Commission

I’ve been working with color pencils alot lately, basically amping up my portfolio, and to add new listings to my Etsy shop. Most of it is wildlife oriented, while I did have a recent fantasy themed commission in the last two months.

The commission was for a wedding gift, couple-themed. I worked with the client, doing several loose sketches before we decided which he wanted, and then sculpting began. The concept was of a dragon kissing a bunny coming out of a top hat. I had everything sculpted, but hit a snag when the dragon’s neck drooped a little to far down during baking. That meant re-sculpting the top hat, and making a base for the dragon so that the dragon and bunny met nose to nose.  I came up with the idea to create a flower design as a base for both instead, and okayed it with the client. I sculpted the top hat inside the center of the flower, and made one petal thicker to hold the weight of the dragon and also have him at the right height to meet the bunny properly.

d-b comm

After a few weeks of sculpting, and then completing the paint job, this was the final result. My client was very pleased with how it turned out, and I was happy to take the challenge and create a great gift.

The color pencils works are recent, and I plan to have small prints and cards made from them. I will update here when they become available.

“Mallard Colors”



“Basking Yellowbelly”

Basking Yellow Belly-sml


“Gem Among Water Weeds”


gem-among-water-weeds sml


“Young Eastern Box Turtle”

young EBT-sml


“Cuban Treefrog”


I am working on more pieces currently, such as Poison Dart Frogs, and more birds.

I have plans to expand my shop, so keep an eye on it if you’re interested. 😉



~ Angela


Photos of My Muses: Turtles… and a Bird

Not too many art updates at the moment, but things are in the works. I thought I’d post some photos I use as reference or that just inspire me. I often take pictures of wildlife locally to add to my life references. I love seeing these animals, and being able to capture them in moments in time, and later with my pencils.

These are just a few from a local pond where I fed the aquatic turtles some veggies so I could get closer shots. Some of them were HUGE. The species below are Florida Cooter, Red Eared Slider, and Florida Softshell.


^ A Florida Cooter, with an estimated shell length of 15-16″ long.


^ Red Eared Slider searching for food.


Two Red Ears chowing down on the veggies I supplied.  Note the algae growing on the shells.


Big Softshell came in to investigate, but veggies weren’t appealing enough. Softshells eat a more meaty diet, so it’s understandable why he passed on the veggies.

After becoming passionate about turtles, I decided to adopt some rescue turtles in need of homes. There are far too many turtles out there who need good homes to care for them. They should not be released just because someone doesn’t want to care for them anymore.


This is Myron, a Yellow-Bellied Slider with kyphosis (curvature of the spine). His deformity is likely congenital, but shouldn’t affect his health. He and another turtle were bought on impulse by someone who kept them in a tiny tank, and fed them an improper diet. Once this person realized they were in over their head, they turned them over to a turtle rescue organization. The turtle rescue which he and the other turtle below came from is the Mid-Atlantic Turtle & Tortoise Society. http://www.midatlanticturtles.org/

This little guy/girl will get to about 6-10″ in shell length once full grown. He is currently about two years old, and may live anywhere from 20 to 60 years.  He eats leafy greens, veggies, some fruit, quality turtle pellets, and an occasionally a meaty treat. He has an endless appetite, and plenty of character. 🙂


^ Showing the bright and beautiful yellow belly his species is named for.


This is Dax, a female three and a half year old Eastern Box Turtle. She was found in someone’s yard as a hatchling and kept in conditions that resulted in a deformed shell. Her shell should be domed and smooth, but instead, because of improper care she is stunted. She may of may not grow anymore as a result. She was fed a bad diet, given no UVB lighting, and likely did not have enough humidity in her previous home. All these things can affect a turtle’s growth and health.

Eventually, she was surrendered to the turtle rescue (linked above) and while in their care for a year, she turned around health-wise. Despite a bumpy shell, she has gorgeous colors, and a good appetite. Her personality isn’t shy, but not overly outgoing either. She will come over if you have food though, especially earthworms.  She has a very sweet little personality, and is very observant of her surroundings. She gets a diet of greens, veggies, some fruit, mushrooms, earthworms, quality turtle pellets, and cuttlebone for extra calcium.

Because of her deformities, it isn’t known if she will grow any more, or even if she will live the average lifespan of a normal box turtle.


Here she is stretched out under her heat lamp. This is a few weeks after I first got her.

I love both these little turtles, and I look forward to many more years with them. I did a lot of research ahead of adopting these turtles, and it’s a great idea to do that in preparing for ANY pet. It applies especially for an exotic like a reptile. Turtles are tough, long-lived animals with more personality than most people give them credit for. They deserve better than to be bought on impulse and tossed away when someone doesn’t want to do the work it takes to provide care for them.

And please do not take any animals from the wild as pets, especially not box turtles. They are in decline because of over-collection, and they take decades to reach sexual maturity. In fact, most of the hatchlings from a single clutch face high mortality, with only one or two turtles ever surviving to reach adulthood.

We owe it to any animal to do a great deal of thinking before we jump into the commitment of keeping them. So, please, read and research before you decide to buy or adopt. Adopting is a great option, and gives many great animals the second chances they need so desperately.

~ Angela

Oh and PS: This little lady would be upset if I didn’t mention her. She’s my green attack bird.