… Memories of my daughter, in her high chair, awaiting the next spoonful.
We get a number of blackbirds nesting close to the house. This year they nested in a rosebush by the front window. They were shielded, from movement in the house, by a curtain . Pulling the curtain back you were then very close to the nest and we could monitor progress.
The adult birds always approached the nest warily and there must have been a call from them, as suddenly, the chicks` heads would shoot up and beaks would open. Then, the adult would appear by the nest and worms and insects were thrust down open throats.
This pair had two broods: as soon as the first two chicks had flown, the female was back on the nest and we went through the same thing again.
I may have spooked them a few times as I poked a camera past the curtain, but not enough to prevent them having two families. Now we have blackbirds fighting over the garden and no doubt there`ll be a few corpses in the flower beds this winter as the weaker ones succumb.
I thought I’d have a bit of fun painting a gaggle of geese I saw the other week. They all appeared to be heading in different directions – though if trouble did get too close there was no argument and they were off back into the water – together.
A quick birthday card for a relative who owns these male cats. We were up visiting her last week and I did a few sketches thinking it might make a birthday card she’d appreciate. The black one is 19 years old.
I have a couple of demonstrations to do next week and I like to have a practice to ensure I can do them in under the two hour time slot that they tend to give you, as when I do them originally I never watch the clock.
For the first one I was asked to do this family of swans that I saw when I was out painting along the canal bank one morning. The lady who engaged me had seen the first painting in an exhibition and like the way I had done the water. I posted the first painting on this blog a while back.
On this one the background ripples seemed a bit bent and the swans had an improbably large family so I had another try.
On this one I think I got the ripples right but I did like the tone of the near water on the first one and now the cygnets are barely discernable. Anyway, now I can see the problems and can draw out something that might work on the day and I now know I can complete in under the two hours. So on to the second demo…
This painting recalls summer days when I saw these horses beside the canal. I like drawing and painting horses, just for their shapes – rather like boats and the challenge they give when they are at different angles or huddled together.
I gathered up the images I had of the day and arranged the horses to get a selection of orientations and hopefully provide a pleasing arrangement.
Its good to get back painting with the first one of the year, though I am still moving materials back to the studio and at the same time doing a bit of sorting out and culling as I go – it all takes time.
I saw this dog by the roadside whilst walking in the Yorkshire Dales this summer. Normally I would tackle such a subject in pastel but what made me paint it was the notion of exploring what kind of textures I could get with watercolour. So it was more of an exercise in techniques than anything else.
I’m not sure why I did this one. I came across the image from my trip to Thailand. And then I’m also not sure why I chose watercolour when pastel might have been better. I then sketched them out and I had them arranged like opposing apostrophes on a line. That left a lot of space at the top.
By arranging them on the diagonal I could make the dogs bigger and fill the space – more dog less mud. I also put some grass in at the top for visual relief.
Another challenge was the dappled shade on which I may have failed. Something to ponder during the long nights of winter.
My last post was a pastel and after I completed it I started developing an abstract with them as I find pastel quick to get ideas down with. The abstract wasnt going too well, so I so, with the pastels, I started to play around with a study of some horses I saw on a walk in the Cotswolds we had last week. I liked the way they stood back to back allowing views from two different angles. The richness of the pastel really brought out the lustre of their coats.
I have been having more than the normal problems with painting recently particularly where I start a painting and abandon it or complete another version and come out with two paintings I am dissatisfied with. This one is a case in point. I had some images of a pack of Patagonian ponies squeezing through rocks and vegetation. I was taken by the forms of the horses as they tussled to progress and I started a pastel painting of it. To make some narrative of the image I obtained some pictures of horses in motion. However the group of equine forms soon transformed into a brown indulgent mass and I abandoned the enterprise. However the extra horses I had found had movement and strength about them and I decided to focus on these and here is the result. I still have a few reservations, but I do like the flow of the forms.
When out walking the other week I saw this sheep with her lambs waiting for us to pass before they made a bolt for the field in front of them . I arranged them into an overlapping group to accentuate the anticipation and tried to keep the colour range tight. I painted it in a single sitting as it seemed to come together fairly easily and am pretty pleased with the outcome.