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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

More Studies

An update on a few more wildlife studies, a personal journal of encounters

The first one is a study of the dippers and grey wagtails we often see on local walks along the River Alyn in Denbighshire

There is a lovely pond at Buckley Common where I live where you can pretty much guarantee to see the birds I've painted here

Gary and I held a day's exhibition at RSPB Conwy a couple of weekends ago and I painted a few of the birds we saw there throughout the day

There are usually good sightings of the wild ponies that roam the uplands around Conwy, here are some of the ponies we saw that day

Thank you for looking

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Four species of swan on Shotwick Lake

My latest wildlife journal page is of 4 different species of swan we see here in the UK - a bit like an identification page in a book!  Not far from where I live and right on the border between England and Wales there is a field which I like to call the swan field as there is a large flock of wintering swans there containing 4 different species, our native Mute swan plus many Whoopers and Bewicks which have migrated here for the winter plus one lone Black Swan.

Mute swans aren't migratory birds like the Whooper and Bewick swan and many will spend their entire winter on their usual pond or lake but some will move short distances to form winter flocks like the ones we saw at Shotwick Lake.  Mute swans as their name suggests are much quieter than their noisy relations and will make hissing and grunting sounds rather than the bugle like calling of the Whooper and Bewicks.

The graceful curve of a Mute swan's neck has inspired many artists and photographers and their wings make a loud, rhythmic and rather musical throbbing sound said to inspire the composer Wagner to write the Ride to Valkyrie.  Whooper and Bewick swans in contrast fly in almost total silence, their long straight necks stretched out before them. They travel huge distances from their breeding grounds high in the arctic zone to spend their winters here in the UK.

With their elegance and unblemished white plumage so rare amongst wild birds, swans are the epitome of purity and beauty   There is the exception of course of the black swan, sightings of which are being seen more and more in the wild obviously having escaped from captivity - they were introduced here as ornamental birds and certainly stand out amongst a large flock of white swans!


Tuesday, 10 February 2015


Gary manages a lady's football team and a couple of Sundays ago they were playing in Bethel in Snowdonia so I decided to tag along and go for a walk in Llanberis while the game was on. Llanberis is a lovely place overlooked by the Snowdonia mountains; it was a lovely sunny afternoon and I was delighted to spot a few goosanders on the lake swimming around with the rest of the ducks and eating bread from the people feeding the ducks there.  I sat watching them for some time and luckily had the camera with me so took a few photos with the aim of doing some studies of them back at home.  So here are a couple of the photos I took and the resulting study - once Gary found out they were there he wanted to go and take some pics himself - you can see his photos here

and here is the resulting artwork with Dolbadarn castle flung in there too as it is quite striking overlooking the lake of Llyn Padarn

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Latest wildlife studies

I am so glad I started doing these studies as I'm enjoying the fact that they are sketchy studies rather than 'proper' paintings if that makes sense - simple recordings of wildlife experiences, no pressure.  I am sometimes asked if I sketch in the field and it's something I've tried to do on occasions and will continue to practice field sketching as it's a great way of developing drawing and observation skills;   I do actually prefer to take photos on the day as I really enjoy the photography side so much as well - I'm lucky enough to have Gary's old camera and zoom lens to work with -  fleeting moments can be captured so well - and you can get a really good look at birds and wildlife through a zoom lens - it feels like it's just you and them - I'm still a novice as far as photography goes  and Gary's photos are always much better than mine of course but I've been really quite proud of some of the images I've taken - so I enjoy the combination of having a variety of photos to work from together with the memories in my head - then sit in my little art room at home with a cup of coffee and relive those moments by transferring them onto the paper in front of me.

Parkgate Marsh at high tide

Marbury Country Park - woodland birds seen from the woodland hide

Snow buntings at New Brighton

Waders at New Brighton

Some of the garden birds that visit my garden

Thank you for looking :-)