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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
I rarely travel far to see birds, but having spent a lot of time observing bird migration on the East coast of Yorkshire this October, the appearance of the first Siberian Accentor on the British Mainland seemed to me to be the culmination of what has been one of the most exciting autumns I can remember. Thus on Friday morning I found myself amongst hundreds of birders at Easington near Spurn Point. The bird approached to about ten feet at times, though I found myself climbing a tree to see over other birders. This gave me the space and time I needed to sketch. Whilst the pencil sketching was done at height the watercolour work was finished at ground level. A really beautiful subject.
It is always nice to find something different. Yesterday whilst sketching the seascape at Sandsend a small tern flew in from the sea from the East. Fortunately it settled on the beach near the beck outflow. It rested for several minutes before being disturbed by a dog, but I was able to sketch the bird suspecting it to be a White- winged Black Tern as opposed to the more common Black Tern. It stood for a while by some Sandwich Terns giving a good size comparison, before flying back out to sea. A very memorable sighting and amongst the rarest birds I have found. These were my initial sketches made during and just after see seeing the bird.
I have been clinging on to winter recently. I relish being out in and sketching in cold conditions. I enjoy all the seasons, but I always look forward to the return of winter. Cold weather sketching produces unpredictable results. The watercolours on the moors were made despite the paint freezing on the metal tin! Sea spray can also produce some interesting results. But the experience of painting en plein air far outweighs any disadvantages. Wildlife just appears around you, the sensation of cold wind and the sound of birds or waves combine to make it an experience far removed and much more rewarding than painting in a studio.