At 48 Wharf Road, Bolinas, Marin County California. When you enter the business part of town, the gallery is located right, across the street from Smiley’s Saloon. The Wildlife Gallery is part of The Bolinas Museum and is located around back where the fountain flows and the Hummingbirds visit the many feeders.
We are open 12pm – 6pm Saturday and Sunday, or by appointment. If you are making a special trip on those days, PLEASE call first to insure that Keith will be there: 415-868-0402.
I think that I am first a birder who is constantly striving to perfect his skills at capturing form, feature and feather on paper.
When I was a kid, our family lived in Maryland next to seemingly limitless and beautifully lush woodland. I was always interested in nature in fact that was my world. One day in 6th grade, I was tagging along with my brother who was working on his “Bird Merit Badge” for the Boy Scouts when he stopped quickly, slowly raised his hand and pointed to a feathered vision. This sight would literally change the trajectory of my life forever when a stunningly beautiful Cedar Waxwing came into focus. I was dumbstruck to behold such beauty and only wanted MORE!
Our family home was all about art, creativity and natural beauty. My father was a Navy pilot who taught his kids about the finer points of identifying different planes by their sizes, shapes and sounds. This was the perfect foundation for my later interests in identifying another kind of thing that flies. Sound familiar? My mother an artist and a true force of nature used to give us art lessons. MANY a day found us kids, (5 boys and one girl) festooned with crayons, paint, paper, art books, inspirational music and Encyclopedia Britannica’s sprawled out on the living room floor producing any and everything. I started illustrating birds seriously in the 12th grade and simply have not stopped or looked back.
I can’t stress enough that very good materials be used when you create art or simply sketch.
My favorite stock that I frequently use is known as “Strathmore Bristol, 4-ply, Regular Kid Surface, 500 series, Cold Press and ALWAYS Acid Free. This stiff material is very resilient and allows for erasing. It has a bit of “tooth” (texture). Of course there are many fine types of acid fee rag stock and some that are more rough, can help to create wonderful textures.
I use watercolor paints, (Winsor Newton & Grumbacher) for most of my art and then a touch of Gouache (opaque watercolor) for more solid areas of pigment or to fix mistakes.
Regarding watercolor brushes, I can’t stress enough that you buy REALLY GOOD ONES! While they are expensive, they last a long time if well cared for. Get a wide range of thickness’s and variously shaped tips. Stick with “Kolinsky, Sable Hair” and you will be happy.
A palette with lots of chambers for many colors works best. Use several jars of water and ALWAYS have a fresh one in case of mistakes.
I enjoy using “Dry”, ie. NOT “Watercolor Pencils” and use both “Rexel Cumberland Derwent” and “Prismacolor”. The Derwent pencils are hard and great for fine detail as they hold their sharp tip longer than the Prismacolors. They don’t exude as much pigment as the softer Prismacolors but can create a more delicate line. Personally, I don’t use “Watercolor Pencils” because I like to layer pencil over watercolor over pencil over watercolor and wouldn’t be able to do that if they were Watercolor Pencils.
When working with graphite pencils, I use a wide range of hardness’s. Typically I do most of my general sketching with a medium hardness. I want it to be soft enough that I am able to erase lines as well as not too hard that it gouges groves into the paper.
I have a power pencil sharpener and also a small sheet of sandpaper that has very fine grit. I use this after the sharpener to give the pencil a “needle tip”.
In addition, I often use a “smudger” which is nothing more than a tightly wound piece of paper, (shaped like a pencil). This nib is used to smear the graphite and works to give an “air-brushed” look.
I have two favorite erasers. One, the “Art Gum” eraser is pliable and can be formed into any shape to erase whatever area you would like. The other (the one I use the most) is the “Magic Rub” eraser, which is solid but not too hard.
A fluffy brush, (like the kind that is used for applying blush) is indispensable for ridding the surface of eraser dust and any other kind of small particles.
Lighting is crucial. I have 4 lights that fill my drawing area with full illumination.
You want a comfortable seat as well as a drawing table that is at an angle that is adjustable to fit your needs.