Tuesday 13 May 2014

A bit of a tangent

I love to paint birds. I was once asked in an interview with a local newspaper 'Why birds? What's the attraction?". I have to admit that I'd never really thought about it before then, I just painted birds. There are of course several reasons for why I paint birds, they are a subject that I know pretty well, they are available subjects to gather reference for, they are a popular subject for buyers and collectors etc, etc. But the main reasons are that birds are simply beautiful and their behaviours are fascinating to watch.

Every now and then though I like to go off at a bit of a tangent and paint other subjects, always rooted in the natural world, I have no interest in painting cars or steam trains for example, but not always birds. I have had a hankering to paint a bull for a long while as I often come across these magnificent animals on my travels. So, a while ago I took a day out to paint this fellow, 'One horn'. I chose to paint him on a fairly large scale, hoping to do him justice as the beautiful beast he was and I wanted to let a bit looser with the oil paints too. He was great fun to paint, I particularly enjoyed his fleshy eye and the way the hair curled over the muscles in his neck.

Limousin Portrait
Oil on canvas board
approx 24"x18"
Sometimes, whilst out birdwatching, I will come across scenes that just have to be captured. Like this landscape for instance. This is a scene from Oare Marshes nature reserve. It is looking back towards Uplees from a point on the Swale known as Dan's Dock, which was a jetty used for an old and very much defunct tile and brick works. This scene was captured on a day when the light was pretty grey and fairly flat but it was so evocative of so many scenes on the coastal marshes around the area that I live that I couldn't resist.

Towards Uplees from Dan's Dock
Oil on MDF
approx 8"x10"
There are times when the light is just gorgeous, and so many miss it because it is too early on a Sunday morning for most people to be up out of their cozy beds. I love the early mornings though, and partly for that very reason. I need the solitude and the freshness of the air to recharge and revitalise. Some mornings before the sun gets high into the clear skies of spring, it sends its rays slanting through the fresh grass sparking the greens into yellow and outlining everything with blazing light. It was on a morning like this that I spotted this Gypsy Cob standing still and quiet in a field where the sun's light caught in all the hair hanging on the shaggy beast, surrounding it with a glowing halo.

Gypsy Cob
Oil on MDF
approx 12"x9"
But, in the end I will always come back to the birds.
The Moorhen and the Speck
Oil on MDF
approx 13"x6"