April 2011

 

Thursday 7th 

RED ADMIRAL AND TORTOISESHELLS

Here we have two of our commonest but nonetheless beautifully marked butterflies, the Red Admiral and the Small Tortoiseshell, both of which have very similar life cycles and a preference for the stinging nettle as a food plant for their larva. Apart from the Brimstone butterfly which is thought to be one of the first to emerge from hibernation, these two featured butterflies can also be seen very early in the year. I saw both species along with the peacock and orange tip when out and about during that lovely spring weather we had at the beginning of March. Both butterflies will overwinter in our houses and out-buildings, finding an undisturbed corner in which to spend the cold weather, although most Red Admirals are migrants travelling to us every year from Southern Europe. The flowers in the painting are greater stichwort which in common with the butterflies can be seen here in the South West very early in the year. They are very widespread and can be found almost anywhere, adding brilliant white stars to our hedgerows, making a fine springtime sight, especially when growing amongst. celandines and red campions.



 

 

Thursday 14th
 

Slow-worm and Forget-me-nots

Delighted to see my first slow-worm of the year during that hot weather last week. It was curled up in a rough patch of vegetation on a sunny bank where I have seen them before and is obviously a favoured area for both them and lizards who also like this particular stretch of hedgerow in which to soak up the sun. Slow-worms are such attractive animals when observed closely, especially their amazing copper-bronze, almost metallic colouring. For this portrait I have used a fine female specimen for a 'model'. She differs from the more uniformly bronze male by having dark stripes along the back and sides. I have also included some forget-me-nots in the painting as they grow in profusion in this particular spot, adding a splash of colour to what is a fairly dull habitat until the prolific brambles flower later in the year.



 

 

Thursday 21st 

 

THE GREAT SPOTTEDWOODPECKER


This week's painting is a pencil and watercolour portrait of a great spotted woodpecker.

Quite common here in the South West the great spotted can be found in most of our deciduous woods and parks. They will also come into our gardens to make use of bird table offerings, especially in country locations and most people are delighted to have such a colourful and attractive visitor on their property. They are especially fond of peanuts and fat.

Most of their natural food consists of wood boring insects and their larvae but in the spring the young woodpeckers are fed mainly on caterpillars. About three weeks are required for the fledging to be completed. However, the young will often stay with the parent birds for some time and if you are lucky you may have full families visiting your garden.




 

 Thursday 28th

Puffins and Sea Pinks
Puffin Island, The Rumps, nr. Padstow, Cornwall

 Image size: 30cm x 40cm

 Price - £45

 Signed Limited Edition of 50