Wildlife Art – Realistic Graphite Pencil Drawing – Blue Phase Snow Goose
Often when we strive to depict realism in wildlife art we can be surprised by the result because of the seemingly endless variety of creatures and habitats in our natural world. Sometimes the challenge is to depict a scene that is ephemeral but completely within the realm of possibilities. That is what happened to me when I composed this drawing of a blue phase snow goose.
The story starts with a walk in a local park in Canada late one autumn. I saw a beautiful goose with a white head resting in the grass. I had no idea what I was seeing but I took lots of reference photos and did a little research when I came home. The head was typical of our snow geese but normally only the very tips of the wings are black, and these can only been seen in flight. Many otherwise all white birds have black feathers on their wings or black wingtips because feathers that contain melanin are stronger and more resistant to wear (ref: The Cornell Lab), but this goose had blue-black colouring on its neck, back, wings and tail!
It turns out that blue phase snow geese are actually not that uncommon. Every goose is different in that the colour can appear anywhere on the body and can be quite irregular. This individual was strikingly beautiful and I started imagining how those feathers might look against a new snowfall. Snow geese migrate of course, but they return on their spring migration beginning in late March when snow storms are quite common.
I had a photo reference of a frozen stream after a fresh snowfall that I had taken several years earlier. There were beautiful reflections of trees on the ice and I always wanted to use it in a composition. This was my chance!
I struggled with creating believable shadows so that the goose fit into the landscape and I hope I succeeded.
As I did in my last two posts, I prepared a short time-lapse video of of the work-in progress for this drawing. Hope you enjoy it! As always, all comments and questions are welcome.