10,000 Hours

Red breasted nuthatch

If the assertion that it takes about 10,000 hours to become an expert at something is correct, I’ve got a long way to go before becoming really adept at painting birds. Still, I’ve spent a good amount of time this winter studying and sketching and painting birds, and it’s good to see some progress. Painting birds well requires watching them a lot, studying anatomy, closely observing specific features like wings, feet, and bills and, of course, practice. After doing a number of quick sketches of red-breasted nuthatches at my feeder, I used my drawings and several photo references for this more careful study. Now if I can just find a few thousand more hours…

(Fabriano soft press 140lb watercolor paper; reference photo by Mick Thompson, 2014)

9 Comments on “10,000 Hours

  1. The red-breasted nuthatch looks like he could lift off the branch! I think you are well past 10,000 hours. You are cruising along now. What an eye you have. What a talent! Well-honed.Love your commentary too.

    • Thanis Carole- the trick for me is to really capture the life essence of the bird. That takes a lot of watching and skill. But I’m having fun getting there.

  2. You’ve really captured the feel of his liveliness and his beautiful color. I really love your bird sketches and studies.

  3. This is beautiful. Simple, not oveworked but with exquisite detail that makes it feel so life like. I can’t wait to see the work you will be doing at 10 thousand hours! Very inspirational.

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