Sunday, 8 September 2013
Day 8 - Red Squirrel
Day 8 of the challenge is another of our favourites in the UK - the red squirrel. Such beautiful animals, which I rarely see as they are non existent in many parts of the UK and certainly don't exist where I live in Wales. I occasionally see them in Cumbria when I visit the Lake District where there is a local population of red squirrels. They also survive on Anglesey. The grey squirrel was introduced into this country about 130 years ago when a Victorian banker brought a pair back from a trip to America and decided to release them into the wild - there are now a few million of them compared to only 160,000 red squirrels. This is due to competition for food, the transmission of the squirrel pox virus which does not effect the greys but is fatal to the reds - and of course us humans have our part to play in their decline, loss of habitat, deforestation and persecution as they were considered as pests. Greys are far more adaptable than reds and have thrived. Although they are an alien species to the UK, they are now part of our wildlife, like rabbits (see last post) and I enjoy watching the grey squirrels doing acrobatics in the garden - the one I have in my garden is a cheeky little chappy but I would dearly love to see the red squirrel thrive again particularly where I live in Wales. You can find more information about squirrels in the UK here and recommendations to help the red squirrel population here.
In the painting above I tried using salt effect again, and like the effect it has given on the tail but elsewhere didn't work as well! I also struggled with the face area and ended up touching it up with a bit of pastel pencil so it's a bit overworked but I hope you like it or parts of it anyway!
I hope you're enjoying my little tour around our British Wildlife through these daily paintings - I'm certainly enjoying painting them and learning a bit more about each animal as I go, please feel free to leave your comments below.
To see what other artists are up to for their 30 day challenge take a look here