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Harlequins in the spray

On a very windy day in March, these two harlequins were surfing the swells at Sachuest Point NWR in Rhode Island. There was wind-blown spray everywhere. What I lost in detail I gained in atmosphere.

That day we got quite a few other birds: American wigeon, horned grebe, brant, common eider, black and surf scoter, long-tailed duck, bufflehead and scaup. But the harlequins were the stars. Sachuest Point is home to the second-largest winter population of harlequin ducks in the east. We must have seen about a dozen. Because they were bobbing and diving so quickly, the tripod was no use. I hand-held the camera to the best of my ability to get the shots I needed to paint.


This is the first of several paintings I hope to create from that trip. It was great fun to alternate impressionist daubs of blue and green with transparent unifying glazes.


Harlequins in the spray is an acrylic on wood panel, measuring 10x20 inches. It’s for sale here.

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