bird behaviour, Bird paintings, Sketching outside

Recent plein air watercolours

Recent watercolours on location. The Eiders were sketched at Hartlepool. Wonderful to be so close to these gorgeous sea ducks. The drakes were displaying and making their “ahhooooo” call to the females. The light was fantastic for painting.
Then on to Skinningrove where an Eastern Black Redstart has resided on rocks near the jetty since arriving in the Autumn. This is a race of Redstart which should be thousands of miles East of here at the moment. This stunning little bird has entertained hundreds if not thousands of birders over the Winter. This morning I had him mostly to myself. He approached within 4 feet at times. He can be seen in the top left of one picture.

Both paintings for sale on GALLERY page.

Landscape in watercolour, Sketching outside

Watercolour at Sandsend, Whitby

I completed this 22″ x 15″ watercolour at Sandsend this morning. Hampered by a biting south easterly wind the conditions were challenging for watercolour en plein air. But the experience is always so rewarding. Fulmars were busy on the cliffs nearby. Hardy souls walking out to or back from the headland peered down at my work from the nearby steps. I enjoy people watching me painting and sometimes wish they were less shy about coming to have a look. That said, I was too busy to talk any sense. Watercolour outside changes fast and dries slowly and demands great concentration.

 

Sandsend, 22nd March. Watercolour 22″ x 15″  £375 unframed

 

bird behaviour, Bird paintings, Sketchbook, Sketching outside

Waxwings in Ampleforth

 

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Waxwings at Ampleforth. Watercolour. 13″ x 11″ £300 unframed

The Waxwings are on their way back to Finland and Russia. This is giving me a second chance to sketch them. I had many sightings as they moved west before Christmas. But now they are on their return journey. They have been seen around Ampleforth College orchards over the last week or so. Strangely this orange rowan still has a heavy crop of berries. Waxwings are truly beautiful. Some winters there are just a few in the country, but this has been a Waxwing winter and they have filtered West across Britain in their hundreds. They gorge themselves on berries in smash and grab raids, filling a pouch beside their throats, then retiring to digest them in a nearby tree. The current Ampleforth flock will be eating any berries they can find and in warm weather catching insects on the wing which they do with grace and agility, ahead of their North Sea crossing.

Waxwing sketch available. 13″x 11″   £300 unframed   email: jonathan@pomroy.plus.com

 

bird behaviour, Sketchbook, Sketching outside

Great Grey Shrike at Acaster Malbis, near York

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I will never forget the day I first saw a Great Grey Shrike. I was kept from attending school due to a virus, a bonus day to catch up on some birding from the lounge window! Suddenly the Greenfinch flock on the lawn scattered. Well, all except one unfortunate individual which was pinned down under a Great Grey Shrike. This was and still is a very uncommon garden bird, but was one of those moments which reinforced my life long passion for observing birds. Today I saw another at Acaster Malbis near York. A Great Grey Shrike is a true winter delight, cloaked in bold, crisp white, black and soft grey plumage. Ever watchful for prey, I did not have to wait long to see the shrike pounce on a vole. It carried the vole off, probably to impale it on a thorn. Shrikes do this to store food, hanging their prey on the the thorns as a butcher hangs meat on a hook, hence their other name butcher bird.

bird behaviour, Landscape in oil, Landscape in watercolour, Sketching outside

Same day, oil and watercolour.

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I paint in watercolour and oil and often swap from one media to the other in a single day. Here are two recent pieces, painted within 24 hours, which show two extremes of my painting range. The first is from sketches of Sansdend, near Whitby on a stormy day. It is an oil painted with palette knife on canvas and measures 30x30cm. The second painting is a fast pencil and watercolour sketch of an Eastern Black Redstart seen yesterday at Skinningrove, North Yorkshire. Measuring 30x27cm this is a quick reaction to a lively bird. This stunning looking Redstart is from the Eastern race and breeds in Central Asia. It has spent the whole winter feeding underneath and around a small area of boulders near the jetty at Skinningrove. Both paintings are now available to buy. Please email me for further details jonathan@pomroy.plus.com

Sketching outside

Snow above Rosedale

 

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Great to be painting in the snow again today, above Rosedale. The dale looked dark in contrast to the brilliant snow covered moors. Occasional grouse kept me company whilst nearby a pair of Snow Buntings fed by the roadside. First landscape complete, I was off to Sandsend to paint the lively sea. It wasn’t much warmer here, 2C with a brisk Northerly wind. The cold raindrops, bordering on sleet, made a very interesting pattern on this hasty watercolour. A Waxwing arrived, calling gratefully as it came in from the sea. Later in the afternoon I found this gorgeous Waxwing right next to a busy road on my way to Sainsbury’s in Whitby. They are arriving thick and fast now, just wonderful!

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