Wednesday, 12 May 2010

By way of a change-Some paintings

I thought it was about time that I posted a few paintings here so that everyone can see that I have actually been doing some work.

First up is the most recent piece; 'New neighbours'. Inspired by the return of the yellow wagtails over the last few weeks it shows a resting hare with a somewhat disdainful look as he watches the new neighbour busily searching for insects among the vivid green grass of late spring.

New Neighbours

I have been experimenting with water lately and the next piece, 'Liquid sky', is part of that exploration. It shows a black headed gull floating on some of the bluest water I've ever seen. Water is a reflective surface and on days of bright sunshine and clear skies the intense blue of the sky is mirrored on the open water. This painting is mainly about the patterns that appear as the water ripples and breaks the reflection into fleeting shapes.

Liquid sky

Just as the water reflects the blue of a clear sky it also echoes the grey of cloud cover and this effect can be seen in the next painting, 'Two islands' The wind breaks the reflection into fragments as it ruffles the surface in a completely different way to the last picture. The two tatty little islands appealed to me in some way that I can't really explain and I added the mallard pair sheltering from the wind as interest to others.

Two islands

'Otter House' was a commissioned piece and it shows an otter as she pauses at the end of a garden that backs onto a river. One day I hope to own a property like that! The reflections in this painting are of the opposite bank and are consequently green.

Otter House

Nature provides a myriad of moods. Resting birds seem to embody calm and when water is involved the scene can take on a quietness that we can all relate to and need to experience for ourselves from time to time if only to escape from the babble of modern living. This stillness is the effect I tried to achieve with the next painting 'Still snipe'.

Still snipe

Similarly it is not difficult for us to identify when normally busy birds like the ringed plover in the painting 'A short pause' decide to stop for a while and enjoy the feel of the warm sun on their backs.

A short pause

Other birds will continue on as always, even in the heat of the summer sun. The air shimmers and insects flicker over the dried mudpile that this stonechat uses as a perch completing the 'Sun, mud and stone' of the title. Again, this is an impressionistic painting done to try capturing the feel of the scene as experienced and an exploration of the effects of light.

Sun, mud, stone

Another recent painting inspired by one of my trips to the Elmley reserve is 'The potterer'. Redshank are all staccato movement, short, sharp and very 'birdlike'. In spring they can be seen twitching around in the puddles of flooded fields left by heavy, late winter rains. Tips of grass and dock poke through the puddles in a random array echoing the bird's movement and the bottom of the puddle can be seen through the shallow water.

The potterer

More puddles in the painting 'Proceed with caution'. Like a military patrol this group of four red legged partridges steps carefully and keeps a wary eye open for ambush as they proceed along a muddy track. Perhaps they were previously on the receiving end of the shot from the cartridge discarded in the grass.

Proceed with caution

Finally a more dramatic painting; 'Too late'. I'm lucky enough to encounter wild peregrines fairly regularly and have seen them diving into flocks of lapwing hoping to cause panic and strike the unwary. This lapwing has not been paying attention and it's now too late.
I'm pleased to say that this painting has recently been shortlisted to the final round of judging for the BBC wildlife artist of the year competition. This is the second year that I have had work accepted for this competition and it's an achievement that I am very proud of.

Too late!


Jo said...

Wonderful as usual. Glad you have had Too Late accepted. Lots of luck with it.

Mike Woodcock said...

Cheers Jo, I take it for the final judging round on Monday.

Jo said...

We'll keep everything crossed for you. Difficult tho it may be.

gynie said...

It's beautiful as usual !!
It's really cool to see some more of your works.

Mike Woodcock said...

Cheers Gynie! Good to see you back with a new blog.