11 July 2006
'Painting Birds' by Susan Rayfield
A few years ago I sent one of my tiny paintings to John O'Neill, a great painter and ornithologist from Louisiana State University. I got some great critique notes back from him including a bunch of tips on technique, equipment and new resources to check out. One of his best pieces of advice was to check out a book called Painting Birds by Susan Rayfield. The book was now out of print he warned, but getting a copy through the used book market was not too hard. It wasn't until a while later when I worked for the Massachusetts Audubon Society on Martha's Vineyard that I came upon a copy. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in painting birds. There is something for every painter in there, irrespective of your style, subject matter or preferred medium. The work of several great painters like John O'Neill, Larry McQueen, Raymond Harris Ching and many others are chronicled. The book is arranged as a series of lessons from the studio, describing a set of techniques important in the repertoire of each artist. There is a section on 'Jungle Birds' with this fabulous piece by McQueen. Check this book out on Amazon or ABE books, I am sure there is something new for most painters to learn in there.
Below is the cover of one of Susan Rayfield's other books, (I couldn't find a single image of the cover of Painting Birds on the web). This book is good as well, definitely worth checking out, especially for the parts chronicling the work of Don Eckelberry and Lars Jonsson.