Click on any image to enlarge 

I created the following studies on location during an art research trip to the Sea of Cortez, specifically at and around the mouth of Estero El Soldado, a tidal mangrove estuary near San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico.   Sue Westin and I were invited in march of 2011, along with a score of other artist and sponsors, to artistically document this  estuary and its surrounding area.   Author/wildlife art expert David J. Wagner L.L.C.  organized the trip to create the exhibition THE SEA OF CORTEZ, which successfully debuted at the Sonora-Arizona Desert Museum in march of 2013.

Seas of Cortez compositeSea of Cortez Field Studies        mixed media 28 x 40″          (composite of 17 studies)

I removed these original studies from my field journals and sketchbooks and arranged them under one frame.   Over half of the drawings are from a March 2011 Sonora trip.    The other studies are from an October follow-up trip with  Debbie and Nick Wilson which allowed me to see the birds in a different seasonal plumage.

For more information about and availability of this composite or other images in this post call me at 802 867-5565 

Field sketches like these, based on actual sightings, provide not only shape, posture, patterns and color references back in my studio but also serve as visual links to  put me back in touch with some of the more subtle aspects of the encounter such as the brine scented wind, how the warm colored sand reflected onto the bellies of the birds, even the sounds of the surf and the smell of the beach.  I consider memories like these critical to my creative process of transforming an actual encounter with nature into a visual aesthetic on canvas.   Note: – JP-  stands for – “Journal Page”

JCP sketching Elegant Terns- SW photo_Web

Sketching Elegant Terns in my field journal – Photo by Sue Westin

10-27-11 Elegant Terns 96

Terns into the wind                 5.5 x 8.5″                    ink JP              (see photo above)

Yellow-crowned Night Heron_Long-billed Curlew96

Pencil & Gouache            9 x 12″

Long-billed Curlew with crab96

Long-billed Curlew with crab                5.5 x 8.5″                  pencil JP

Elegant Terns resting96

Elegant Terns Resting                5.5 x 8.5″                  pencil  JP

Elegant & Royal Tern96

Elegant & Royal Terns – courtship rituals                9 x 12″                gouache on paper

Sketching spoonbills w- text 96

Roseate Spoonbill feeding96

Roseate Spoonbill feeding              5.5 x 8.5″             pencil JP

Yellow-footed Gull & P. Falcon

Yellow-footed Gull & Peregrine Falcon        9 x 12 ”                  gouache on board

10-28-11 E. Terns taking flight 96

Terns Tacking Flight         8.5 x 5.5″              pencil JP

10-26-11 Ruddy & Ring-necked Duck 96

Ruddy & Ring-necked Ducks         9 x 12″                acrylic on paper

Side-blotched Lizard mating96

Side-blotched Lizard mating              5.5 x 8.5″                pencil JP

Winter Caspian Tern

Caspian Tern 9 x 12″ acrylic

JCP field sketching terns - SW photoDSC_0106_2

Studying the tern at the mouth of the estuary

Journal pg. Peregrine sunset  10-25-11

Peregrine at Sunset                 5.5 x 8.5″                Journal Page(JP)

Journal pg. blue-legged crab  102511

Blue Crab Fishing               5.5 x 8.5″                   gouache & ink JP

102411 Royal, Elegant Terns 96

Tern Studies                         5.5″ x 8.5″                 gouache & ink JP

Royal Tern resting96

Royal Tern               5.5 x 8.5               gouache JP

Royal Terns bathing96

Bathing Terns                           5.5 x 8.5                    pencil JP

10-25-11 Royal Terns in flight 96

Royal Tern Flight                 5.5 x 8.5″              ink JP 

Oriole Studies com. 96

Hooded and Streak-backed Orioles studies

102611 B. PelicanSnowy Egret 96

Brown Pelican & Snowy Egret                  8.5 x 5.5″              smudged ink

10-27-11 Tern head shapes 96

Tern Head Studies Comparisons             5.5 x 8.5″                      ink

Journal pg. Blue-footed Booby diving 102511

Blue-footed Booby Diving              8.5 x 5.5″                 ink & gouache

Journal pg. Imm. Blue-footed Booby 10-25-11-96

Blue-footed Booby Study in Flight                  5.5 x 8.5″                             smudged ink

Caspian Tern-flight96

Caspian Tern Flight                        5.5 x 8.5 ”                  pencil & gouache

All Images and material in this blog Copyrighted by John C. Pitcher 2014 – 2015

4 thoughts on “SEA of CORTEZ EXPEDITION, Mexico 2011

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