Excuse me, sir, do you mind?


“Dining al fresco”

Yellow-billed Stork

Graphite on 300# Arches watercolor paper, mounted to 1/2" maple panel and varnished

15 x 7 inches

After drawing the Saddle-billed Stork and Marabou Stork, I decided to draw a third, creating a series of Stork drawings from Tanzania. I vaguely remember seeing some Yellow-billed Storks in 2016 while searching for Hippos in the Serengeti, and off I went to my reference database. Although you can not see it in my drawing, the apparent reason for the Yellow-billed Storks name is because of the bright yellow of the bill.

While photographing these birds, still on the lookout for Hippos, we were looking upriver, which created this long vertical feeling in the landscape, dotted with this repeating oval shape of the Yellow-billed Stork. There must have been 30-40 of these birds walking the river banks looking for their lunch. They were so engaged in their hunt for food that it was rare for them to raise their head and make eye contact with me.

Inspired by that memory, I knew this drawing needed to be composed within a long vertical rectangle and that the bird’s form repeated many times. Then to highlight that one Yellow-billed Stork that was looking at me, giving it the greatest contrast in the overall composition and downplaying the contrast on the others. As if that one bird is looking at me saying, “Excuse me, sir, do you mind? We are trying to eat our dinner.”


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