These silly sea gulls provide both charm and agitation to the life of a plein air painter. After many days (years) of painting in the presence of Gulls, I learned at least 5 interesting things about them.
1. They know who is friend or foe. If you feed them they don’t dive bomb your floppy hat and leave you a present. If you ignore them they do! They learn to get close if you let them alone. They have a very good memory.
2. Young gulls start out brown not white. They are taught in a school by older birds and protected until they are almost grown.
3. Seagulls go very far inland and search for food in “dry” places too. They dwell around very small ponds too if there is food. Most like to live and nest on high bluffs or buildings.
4. Seagulls are very good swimmers and divers, and float just as well as a duck. They are a very smart bird, sometimes using bread crumbs to “fish”, attracting small fish to the surface to then dive on and grab for supper.
5. Seagulls can be found very late in the fall in Duluth, then one day they just vanish. I do know they are considered a migratory bird, and fly south for the winter. Although they live in flocks they migrate more haphazardly than ducks or geese and forage along shorter flights paths in steps until they find enough warmth and food. They are habitual and return to many same locations yearly.
Blue Walking Bridge located in Canal Park in Duluth, MN and spanning the Minnesota Slip. 8″x9″ graphite on illustration board with “Iron Fish” insert 5″x5,” also graphite on illustration board. I have sketched and illustrated several versions of this bridge and its “fish.” The Iron Fish sculptures are a pale green, mounted on concrete pedestals. The walkway is made of heavy timbers.
This bridge is known locally as the Blue Bridge in Canal Park because, well, it’s blue. Local folks and tourists love it and the local government wants it replaced (to say they dislike it is understating it). It is aging and becoming unreliable and costly to maintain. I am enchanted with it on several levels. First, it has artistic charm, and then it has artistic un-necessary embellishments (the iron fish). It is cool to watch it open and close by going up in two halves. The bridge connects two sections of Canal Park that both have visit worthiness. It is functional and adds greatly to the ambiance of the area in which it “resides.” At night, which few stay around to see, it is a grand view of reflections of both light and buildings. Sometimes glassy reflections of returning small sailboats and fishing boats. This is where the harbor tours dock and depart, creating tens of thousands of bridge users to come and enjoy.
Pen and Ink on Illustration board 8″x10.” Plein air sketch rendered 2005 in Duluth, MN
As so many lakeside studies, there is a seagull in the picture. Working in ink, it is difficult to capture a good likeness of the busy birds. Duluth has many opportunities to capture these birds, and much added scenery with lighthouses, bridges, and lakewalks. So, one must work out the seascape-landscape aspects and add a bird in, making sure that it will go into the background as erasing in ink is not possible. If you are not feeding the birds, you must wear a hat.
Graphic Designer / Digital Artist & Photographer. I love Nature, Animals, Tropical Sun, Bright Colors...I am eclectic, chameleonic, and love to pass through different styles and to use Bright, Bold, Exotic Colors!...but my Dark Side is not so far...