The nickname for Spruce Grouse is "fool's hen". These ground-foraging birds are described as behaving as if they are tame. The irony is Spruce Grouse inhabit northern coniferous forests in such remote areas that research on the species only spans about 30 years.
On my recent trip to Manitoba to see Polar Bears in Churchill, I went birding with friends at Riding Mountain National Park and enjoyed a great experience watching a flock of grouse foraging. We spotted six of them, a group of males and females.
Of course, they immediately scattered when we stopped, some running into the woods, others flying into spruce limbs. The species' ability to remain still for long periods and the excellent camouflage quality of its plumage combine to help it avoid predators.
The sketch is created on Canson 9 x 12 all media paper which is fairly strong but it won't take the changes that Arches cold press watercolor paper will tolerate. The blue on the bird is ultramarine darkened with burnt sienna and sepia, although it looks more blue here than the actual sketch. Creating this sketch gave me practice in creating the suggestion of feathers, as well as, a review of mixing greens.
Wishing you a Happy Holiday season and hoping you will find some relaxing moments for sketching and painting!
To see more images of Spruce Grouse and read more about the journey that took me to see them, visit my blog posts on my journey to Churchill to see Polar Bears at Vickie Henderson Art.