Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Gambels Quail

Quail - watercolor study.

Artist Note
The quail are all over the place
at the moment,
and they are the neatest birds to watch
with their
bobbing heads and perky steps.

Here are five on the rail of our deck -
there were 8 of them at one time. Fun!
They come for the water as well as the food.
Clever - the water bowl attaches to the rail as you can see.

They are friendly to the other birds at the feeders, 
but the Thrashers do have a bit of 
a dictator attitude and think they
 rule the deck.

I sit and sketch from
inside the window.
pencil and watercolor
They can't see me
due to the reflection of the sky
on the glass..

Quail lay their eggs in a shallow 
depression in the ground. One a day.
They may line it with dead leaves or grass.
No full nest of twigs etc.,
I have seen where they surrounded the eggs 
with stones or lumpy dirt to prevent them 
rolling away. Clever and protective.

I found their their eggs under
a bush in a plant-pot one year

These are those which didn't hatch
out of 14 last year, I love the markings
and have not done a full painting 
of them - yet!
It will soon will be hatching time
I can't wait to see the babies
running in a line behind
mom and dad


  1. Hi Julie, well I really enjoyed this post! A beautiful painting AND pictures to boot :) My only experience with Quails are the little ones that you buy in pet shops here, I did have some when I was a kid and I loved them. These days I don't like to keep birds in cages ;)So nice to see your little visitors.

    1. Hi Leesa, neat to know you have the quails over there, too. The ones here are a bit large for pets and I find it hard to believe I used to eat baby quail at a fancy restaurant...and thought it was delicious... before I had any idea of what I was eating.
      I was hysterical laughing over what you explained was the typical position you painted of the kangaroo. Looks like a classic lying nude pose. What a hoot. I bet there are others like me who have only ever seen a kangaroo upright. neat textures and colors in your painting.

  2. I didn't know any of that about quail and we have a whole bunch of them living on our hillside. They are sort of hysterical to watch, the way that they run and fly and root around on the ground. And what beautiful eggs they lay!

    Your watercolor study is lovely. It somehow suits the"flittering" and head bobbing movements of the quail.

    1. Thanks Libby. I think you have the California quail also which has that incredible pattern of chainmail on its chest. They are fun to watch.

      It is so interesting reading your thought process on making your art.You share so generously and involve us all.

  3. How wonderful that you have these captivating little birds come so close. You've done a grand job quickly capturing this one in watercolor. I've never been lucky enough to see these cunning little creatures in person. To watch them bobbing along single file must be a delight. A really super post, Julie!

    1. Nice comment, Helene, thank you. It is only in the last couple of years they have been coming so close to the house. The difference seeing them up so close is amazing.
      Have you started another painting since your award night? Still in the glow!!

  4. Boy, he's a grand fellow! Love the neutrals and texture, Julie. I think painting in watercolor enhances the scene. It has such a fresh look. Haven't heard many quail here yet. They always let us know if they're out and about. I, too, enjoy the strings of babies as they walk. They are very doting parents.

    1. You are in an area with lots of quail so it is nice to know enjoy seeing them too, Carol.
      Thanks for the supportive words on my painting. They mean a lot.

  5. Love it! I also love how the quail remind me of 1940's Flappers with their head feather that resembles the head wear worn my those ladies in the Speak Easys.

    1. Perfect - I see what you mean, Carol.
      Flappers - so true. Thanks for the visit.

  6. I'm falling in love with your bird paintings! It's mating season and I am the object of Bonnie's affection.Yes, I do need a life, smiles.

    1. I know you are a bird lover for sure. I burst out laughing at the visual of you being the object of Bonnies affection! Grrrreat one!

  7. They must be very entertaining to watch. I can imagine them all lined up on the railing going back and forth. Beautiful textures in the painting! Love the abstracted background and the splattering in the foreground. Lovely!!!

    1. Thanks for the wonderful complement from a watercolorist! yea!
      It was a wonderful coat you painted on the lady, yes, but I loved the white hairdo best. it was so perfect.

  8. I love everything about this painting! Love the other study and can't wait to see what you do with the eggs!How fun it must be to observe them from your window!

    1. Hi Celia - thanks for the visit. I have to admit to envy....your mother is so lucky to have a daughter who designed a beautiful scarf just for her! Great job on the calla lilies.

  9. Such regal and entertaining birds. Beautifully captured julie.

    1. That is so nice of you Helen - thanks.
      You are not posting as often, but still painting up a storm, I hope.

    2. Down with foot surgery. Really missing my art!

  10. Isn't he just adorable with that royal top feather. We have lots of birds but no quail. I am going to use your tip about painting them from inside the house though. Thanks.

  11. They are fascinating to watch. Not seen them be the slightest bit aggressive with each other or other birds.
    I enjoyed you spring like Easter greeting. Thank you.

  12. love Quails, but have never seen one in the wild sadly :/ maybe one day :)

    its a very nice studies of them :)

  13. Dear Julie - It is so rare to see quail here...we call ours pheasants. Generally see them in the autumn. Very magnificent birds and I am always so pleased to catch sight of them. Imagine having them eat right in front of your window. What a delight. So enjoy seeing your bird paintings too. Hope you have a wonderful week. Hugs!

  14. Your sketches of them are so wonderfully colored and detailed Julie. I love quail and here we also call them Bobwhites. Their sweet song is so pleasant to listen to, but we rarely see or hear them in the city. You have to go to open areas to see them. I didn't know they put their eggs on the ground and wow, the eggs are beautiful. I can see why you want to paint them. Love your bird paintings!


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