February 2011

 

Thursday 3rd

Frosty Morning ~ Dog Otter

Well the wintry weather is back at the moment with several days of hard frost and icey roads to deal with, which brings me nicely to this week's painting, a portrait of a dog otter which has just emerged from the water on a cold, clear, frosty morning. It is one of my all-time favourite paintings and has been used for many things such as fund-raising, limited edition prints, calendars and Christmas cards, so it is the perfect picture for this time of the year. The setting is Dunmere Pool on the River Camel, a beautiful area to visit and rich in water-loving wildlife, both mammals and birds. The pool itself is formed by a purpose built dam across the river and is situated just off the Camel Trail near Bodmin here in Cornwall.


 

Thursday 10th 

Buzzard in Winter

One of our most common birds of prey, the buzzard can be seen throughout the South West, very often observed perched on a favourite road-side telegraph pole, gate post or tree branch, as shown here. They can also be seen seen in flight souring majestically over our cliff-tops, moors and countryside. Their familiar 'mewing' call draws them to our attention as they wheel and glide, often in family groups of four or five high above us.Having a very varied diet, including carrion, buzzards are one of the few birds of prey that do not struggle for survival if we have a harsh weather during the winter months, as we did this year, as they readily take advantage of any animal casualties that have succumbed to the cold or our busy roads.



 

Thursday 17th

Out and About ~ Toad

At last it is really warming up a bit generally. The natural world is stirring. We now have bird song to wake to in the mornings, a beautiful flush of snowdrops glistening like white jewels in the garden and one of my favourite garden creatures has just put in an appearance, Mr. Toad. My wife Ann has now moved to her second homes, the garden and her greenhouses. She has started the busy tasks of sorting out her vegetable plots and putting out the containers of spring bulbs that are all bursting into life now. Whilst carrying out these tasks last week she was delighted to come across our friend the toad. We have several living in our garden where they do a great job keeping down the slugs and other pests. It is a very welcome sign of approaching spring when they are out and about.


 


 

Thursday 24th

 

Kingfisher on a Mooring Post

Well, it is now officially springtime I am delighted to say, probably my favourite season as a wildlife artist with so much to record and paint. Everything bursting into life, all our local wildlife out and about and the first of our early visiting birds starting to arrive. 2011 is a very exciting year for me as I am having my first major exhibition of all original artwork for 16 years. The exhibition will feature paintings from my book project Wildlife and Waterways with all the paintings having some connection with the South West's rivers, lakes and seas. Over the next few months I will be featuring many of these paintings here in the paper, starting with this week's portrait of a beautiful male kingfisher which was inspired by a sighting on the River Camel, near Wadebridge here in Cornwall. I loved the birds chosen perch of an old mooring post, perfect. I added the rope, though, as the post was so rotten it was no longer in use.