Gene, the augur buzzard
The Augur Buzzard (Buteo augur)
From Shiv Kapila, Keny aBird of Prey Trust (http://kenyabirdofpreytrust.org):
"We got Gene in 2013 from Nairobi. She was found emaciated on the side of the road, blind in one eye. I picked her up and fed her up over the course of a couple of weeks, then started training. I flew her for a couple of years, chasing hares and rabbits, until KPLC changed out the power poles on my place to the lethal concrete ones. She now has a mate, a melanistic augur with an amputated leg because of being electrocuted because of those same concrete power poles."
I created this painting while vacationing at Diana Beach on the coast of Kenya (I traveled with my paints, paper and 3ft x 2ft lightbox!), using reference photos I took while visiting the Kenya Bird of Prey Trust in Naivasha, a few months earlier. I was captivated by Gene’s stoic poise and piercing gaze and loved his chic black and white ermine-style plumage. As usual I composited several photos to get the right pose and transferred outlines to paper, which I taped to my lightbox. I was happy with the deliberate blooms and the rich ochre coloring of the background panel, which I think offsets his minimalist plumage colors and beautiful patterning quite well. The whole work was done with a combination of wet on wet, wet on dry and glazing, with detailed over-painting restricted to the eyes and beak.
You can see a step-by-step process slideshow in the creative process section of my website: http://lockyerart.com/?p=1564