The most annoying color in my various containers of coloring pencils is the one inevitably titled “Dove Grey.”

My problem with this color is that Mourning Doves, of which we have quite that gather daily on our deck for the great grub come in many colors. Grey isn’t one of them. If you look at them closely, they are beige, sometimes greyish beige which also can look closer to pink than beige. You will see some bright blue, green, amber and ochre. A touch of black here and there. It’s almost as if they named that color because it is the only color you do not find on a real, live Mourning Dove.

Maybe they had a different dove in mind?

The other interesting thing about doves is that each feather is outlined. You can see each exterior feather. Finally, no two doves are exactly the same. The colors vary from bird to bird. Even their legs are different colors. Some have dark red legs, others have black legs. Some have both colors.

I took three tries at getting a dove to look like a dove. I’m not happy with any of them. The “outlining” on the feathers doesn’t look natural. Maybe paint would work better. Usually by the third time I’m trying a particular drawing, it comes together, but in this case, there was something I liked in each picture, but none of the them looked right to my eyes.


I liked the shape of the dove. I even liked his legs. But the detailed feathering seems too obvious and unnatural. So, I tried again.


I tried again. I don’t like this one at all

It’s amazing how much you can do right and still end up with a picture that you don’t like. Not one to give up easily, I tried again.


Great shape, but nothing else looks good

I thought maybe I could just skip the complicated individual feathering, but that doesn’t look right either, I also don’t like the colors even though they are more or less accurate. The dove as a whole? Nope.

I’m going to try it again. Just once. If that doesn’t come out looking like a dove, I’m giving up on doves. I’ve heard people say “never give up” but realistically, there is a time to give up especially when you are obsessing over one drawing and there are a million other things you could be doing. Obsession is not the same as determination and it is good to recognize the difference.

If you never give up on one drawing, all the other drawings you could have made will get lost. There absolutely is a time to give up and I have reached it.

One more try!

Categories: #Birds, #Sketchbook, Arts, Drawings

Tags: , , , , ,

11 replies

  1. I liked the last one the best.


  2. I think you’re being your own worst critic.


    • Well, this certainly wouldn’t be the first time someone has said that to me! I AM very critical of my own work, but to be fair, I’m equally as critical of other people’s work. I just don’t SAY anything unless someone actually (a) asks for my opinion and (b) seems to be capable of hearing what I’m saying without falling apart or blowing all their gaskets.

      Writers and artists are super sensitive and this applies equally to professionals with many books in print and multiple best-sellers or artists hanging in major museums. It’s why I stopped writing book reviews. I have at least three well-known authors mad at me because I said that the book I reviewed was good, but not their best work. I didn’t even say I didn’t like the book, just that I thought a different one was better. Two of the three are multiple best-selling authors and yes, they really DO read reviews on WordPress.

      I’m now at a point where if I don’t have 100% great things to say, I say NOTHING. I make feeble excuses, but i won’t post a negative review even for a book I think is awful. AND since i can’t say what I mean, I don’t write reviews. Ever. Especially if the book was written by a friend because that’s a great way to lose a friend.

      Critical I am, but very very careful with whom I share my feelings.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Anyone who has been in downtown Chicago (or many other cities) knows that doves come in a variety of colors. The ones that land in areas where people eat or by warm fires on a cold day vary from near black to almost all white. There are a lot of gray ones though. Another name, less complimentary, I think, for doves is pigeons. That’s what we call them around here!


    • Those are doves, but they are Rock Doves, AKA pigeons. And yes, they do come in gray — but there isn’t ONE color gray. There are lots of colors for every dove I’ve ever met. Our Mourning Doves, first cousins of those city slicker doves, have at least half a dozen colors in their feathers and often more. I wish the makers of colors — paint and pencil — would give colors sensible names. Fewer rocks, birds, and flowers. More things like grayish orange or blue-gray (more gray, less blue) because blue-gray is more blue and less gray.

      Of course, even when they DO give you that information, when you try the color out on a separate paper (I’ve learned the hard way to make sure the color IS the color I want!), it’s never what they told you anyway. Sometimes it’s a little bit “off,” but often you look at it and say “Huh?”


  4. Your photo of the mourning dove is gorgeous..and I like all of your sketches. Especially the first one. I don’t really care whether they look like doves or not..I just like what they end up being…themselves. The third one is cold, and wants you to give him more feathers. He told me to tell you…


    • I didn’t like the second OR third one. The third one has the best body shape, but the worst feathering. I’m giving it ONE more try and then we’re moving on to bluebirds!


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