A drake Tufted duck shows off its plumes. I made this painting based on a distant photo taken on wednesday in North Cave wetlands, and I filled the details from other photos. The wind made the tuft stand out. I drew a first layer on pencil and made a separate layer for the eye, beak, dark plumage, white plumage, and background, and when finished I made the pencil layer invisible. Layers allow to correct position or errors easily. I use the ArtRage Studio software and as tools I used airbrush, oil brush, ink pen for the very fine detail of the eye and beak and eraser.
The alarm call of the crow, a rattling ‘krrrrr’, often alerts me of the presence of birds of prey. On one such occasions, a crow mobbed a kestrel over the garden, and I managed to get a very poor photo. I drew the scene in pencil based on a photograph.
This tiny, ever moving bird is a challenge to photograph. It is very acrobatic, climbs up tree trunks, hangs upside down from think branches, or feeds hovering in front of conifer branch tips. An early painting in the tablet, from a couple of years ago.
I treasure my encounters with Barn Owls. I used to dissect their pellets to find out what they ate, but watching them was unusual. Lately, I have enjoyed some recent close encounters with these birds in Tophill Low. A pencil and watercolour sketch.
The bullfinches in Humber Bridge Country park are used to people topping up the bird feeders to watch them up close. They do not disappoint. In our last visit up to three males and two females fed on sunflower seeds, barely a couple of meter away from us. I was quite pleased with the way the bullfinch eye came out in the painting.
After spending their white headed winters feeding on fields or scavenging in towns and parks, Black-headed Gulls moult into their dark chocolate heads, with a contrasting white rings around March time. They move to their nesting grounds where there is much posturing, displaying and screechy calling. The sketch shows the ‘forward posture’ adopted when threatening an opponent, but also when pairs display to each other.
I took some photos of Oystercatchers in Seahouses last year. They were distant and poor quality but they inspired me to portray this brightly coloured wader.