My Ruffled Feathers

I am sorry for any avid hunters out there for this confession… until this saw I did not know of or had ever seen a grouse before. Apparently they used to be a large population in the area I grew up, but are gone now? My father and some of this friend have grouse hunted before, but must travel to do it since I was not familiar with them. With that said, it was asked if I had ever painted a saw depicting them. I easily answered no and then promptly asked what the heck a grouse was. I now know they seem like mini turkeys with pheasant like colors when they are displaying themselves. At least that is what comes to mind when I look at them when open their feathers during mating drumming.

This was an interesting one. They are small birds and do not group together like geese, turkeys, ducks, etc. Normally one or two per area depending on season and live in grassy areas or small, natural openings in the woods. For this saw to be as realistic as I can get it, there can be two at most and in tall grass where you can’t really see them. Kind of defeats the point. So what to do?

Between pictures my father provided and some googling I settled on Ruffed Grouse. The background was very similar to the turkey one I just did, I did really like how it turned out after all. Just with the beginning of spring and grassy brush colors instead of full green foliage of summer. Spring is a hard season to capture since it depends on where you live. Spring has just begun here and everything is brown and tan. New green growth appears depending on how harsh and long winter was. This was my best try at that balance, spring without it looking like Fall. Hope I got it.

At this point I needed to add the grouse and foreground clover, moss, and grass on the remaining ground. I have seen pictures of grouse, but some are tan, grey, brown, or more white. I don’t know if this is because they are different types, a difference between sexes, or coloring during different seasons. And as always, I get through painting it all and then am told “maybe it should be darker?” It is not easy to redo something like that. I would have to redo whole sections. You can’t just put more dark brown on top when it has so many feathers. AHHHHHHHH sometimes it’s frustrating. They look like what I saw in pictures, but people who have actually gone grouse hunting say it’s wrong. What to do, what to do, what to do.

Well I at least got this one correct. Still debating about if I should change the other one. I will have to keep you updated.

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