Painting the Harpy Eagle, One More Time

harpy eagle

Lowlands- Harpy Eagle in Panama. Acrylic on board, 18″ x 24″
Call me a glutton for punishment, or just a bulldog with a brush: after being beaten in the first round by a Harpy eagle who refused to be painted convincingly (by me at least) I have tried, tried again. Not sure that I’m wholly successful this time, either, but I like this one, and it reminds me of Panama, where Harpies are being reintroduced in the Canal area. Let’s just say that the painting preceding this one is only still in my studio in a stack of failed paintings turned to the wall. It’s a reminder that there are things in this world too damn difficult to pin down. But I’ll keep trying. Next one might be better still.

I’ve titled this, “Lowlands”, and it represents a bright, sunny day in the understory of Barro Colorado Island, a lowland rainforest, where one might surprise a Harpy eagle if one were extraordinarily lucky and very quiet on their feet. This Harpy might have spotted a snoozing sloth, and if you hadn’t come along, it would be launching itself across the clearing to catch lunch.

A bright day in the understory is a ravishing experience: the canopy overhead cuts sunlight into brilliant spots, dots and dashes which highlight random objects as if they were on display in a museum of modern art. On the dark forest floor a leaf, a tree root, a two-foot palm seedling, half a liana loop- is illuminated gorgeously for a few moments, until a cloud pulls the curtain, or the sun continues its course across the sky and finds something new to spotlight. An ever-changing exhibit of tropical vegetation. And maybe the world’s biggest eagle, if you’re really lucky.

4 thoughts on “Painting the Harpy Eagle, One More Time

  1. Snail says:

    Bravo! That harpy eagle looks as though it needs to be appeased with something tasty for missing out on its lunch. Otherwise it might just make a meal of the observer.

  2. Janice Selzer says:

    HI Debby,
    Glad to see you are still in the area and doing what you do so well! I love your paintings. Don’t know if you remember me or not, I worked at UDC also. Sure miss the way things were! I’ve often wondered what happened to everyone. It was nice to happen across your web site. You sure have a nice one! Continued good luck with everything. Janice

  3. The three stooges: Curley says:

    nyuck nyuck nyuck! that’s a beast drawing!! i could never do something like that!! Nyuck nyuck nyuck!!

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