Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Rhins - Fauna

I've just returned from a week in the caravan on the far south-west tip of Scotland with son and OH. It was a beautiful camp site,  practically on the beach, shielded by gorse and brambles and with grass kept short and neat by an whole army of bunny gardeners.

Keeping the grass short

If being surrounded by the cast of Watership Down was insufficient cuteness this nest of young swallows certainly made up for it.

Late brood of swallows

On the that morning we left two had fledged and were nervously hanging around on the roof but the others were still reluctant to make the leap. I am trying not to think of the long journey they have to make so very soon with so very little flying experience.

Beyond the site, the fields and roads were overrun with herds of young pheasant just coming into their adult plummage and looking all the scruffier for it. Inevitably many came to grief on the roads but this gave us some amazingly close encounters with scavenging buzzards, though never with a camera to hand.

The beaches on the west coast were littered with jellyfish, some up to 50cm across.

But fortunately the east coast facing into Luce Bay had far fewer and I was happy to swim in the shallow waters on a couple of the warmer and calmer days.

Although the days were generally fine the wind really seemed to pickup overnight and
ccasionally brought rain. After one particularly blustery and wet night I found a family of mice sheltering amongst the deckchairs stowed under that caravan. They scarpered but left their business behind!

Given the coastal winds it was no surprise to see some very tattered peacock and red admirals gamely fluttering along between the scabious and thistle and in the fine formal gardens of Port Logan and Castle Kennedy.

Damaged Red Admiral

On the one day I managed to get up before the sun had risen I was rewarded with a curlew flying low overhead, the sight of oystercatchers nosing around the caravans and tiny ringed plovers scuttering along the tideline.
Oystercatchers on the beach at sunrise
Ringed Plovers at sunset

Oystercatchers have long been a favourite and were the subject of what I like to think is one of my more successful prints (see here) but the plovers may be next in line.

Friday, 15 August 2014

(Father) Christmas in August

Roundel motifs observed at the tomb of St Nicholas, Myra, reproduced in pencil, watercolour and inktense
Over the years I've noted it is de rigueur for designer-makers to flaunt their organisational prowess by producing Christmas goods in summer. Frankly, if I have gotten around to producing a card design by November I consider that pretty good going. Last year I didn't bother with seasonal goods at all.

This year I have been inspired to create by a visit to Father Christmas's tomb. In truth the tomb of  St Nicholas at Myra, Turkey probably contains very little of the man himself but the fresco and mosaics in the Byzantine Church are stunning.

Opus sectile (marble mosaic) floor at the tomb of St Nicholas, Myra

Fresco, St Nicholas, Myra

Fresco, St Nicholas, Myra

Fresco, St Nicholas, Myra

Fresco, St Nicholas, Myra

The image at the top of this post was a little exercise in drawing and painting that I originally started for #drawingaugust on twitter. But now I am trying to convince myself it might be the beginnings of a Christmas card design. Christmas 2015.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The Blue House at Shellness

The ink on the Blue House at Shellness has now had a good two weeks of drying time (which is more than my impatience normally allows) and has now been editioned and listed in my Etsy and Folksy shops.

Sometimes I like to check the progress of my cutting without getting inky and find a rubbing made with a soft and chunky colouring pencil and scraps of thin paper is just the job.

For more blue house for this link


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