Friday, December 18, 2009

Seal Pups Galore!

I didn't get time to go and see the seals pupping in Lincolnishire this November because my Christmas exhibition was so busy. But last week I decided to drive over and see if they were still there - and they were. In their hundreds!
It really was worth the trip. The spot that they land on is actually part of an RAF base, which in a way means they are well protected - even if at times things must be a little noisy for them, as these signposts suggest.

My daughter Lily really enjoyed seeing them. They came up so close to the fence she could have touched them!
Not only are the females feeding their new pups now, but this is also the mating season and males, or 'beechmasters' as the dominant ones are known, are rounding up the females too. To read more follow this link to my Gazette & Herald column.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A waxwing Christmas

I always think of waxwings at Christmas. They are not resident to the UK, but like Santa they visit us from Scandinavia each winter and tend to hang around shopping centres whilst people are doing their Christmas shopping.
Last year I spent much of December scouring the streets of Huddersfield trying to photograph some, only to have a flock visit the tree outside just as I was sitting down to my Christmas dinner.
As I watched them, the reason for the name ‘waxwing’ became clear. Each of the secondary flight feathers bore a tear-shaped red droplet which matched the dripping candle wax on our table... Read more in this week's Yorkshire Post.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Uptown Fox

Painting by Robert E Fuller

I had a call yesterday from Peter Levy of Radio Humberside wanting to know all about urban foxes after that photograph of a fox walking up an escalator in a London Underground Station appeared in all the papers.
Thinking of town foxes brought me in mind of a week I spent cramped in a child's Wendy house in Huntingdon watching a vixen and her cubs. Click here for more on that experience.

This is the time of year to be listening out for fox calls as they begin their courting season. These animals really are among the most adaptable of all our species and the jokes in the newspapers yesterday on that savvy fox's London 'knowledge' aren't that far off the mark.

To learn more about town foxes click here link to Peter Levy's BBC Radio Humberside programme.

And for more 'foxy tales' click here to link to a Gazette & Herald column of mine.

Friday, December 11, 2009

And the winner is.....

....Amy Crowther, age 11 of Pocklington School, pictured below.
Her painting really was wonderful. It kept catching my eye every time I walked past it and I thought it really deserved to win. Amy is now the Young Wildlife Artist of the Year. She told me that it was the first time she had used acylic paints and I hope she keeps it up.

Having said that, all the paintings were outstanding and I found it hard to choose winners amongst the rest. Here are some examples:
Pictured here with Amy Crowther are Amy Redhead, age 11, and Will Wraith, also 11, with their paintings.

This was Amy Redhead's picture, it earned her second prize in the Pocklington School catagory.
And this was by William Bulmer, also of Pocklington School.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pick of the Best

This week the gallery has been filled with pictures produced by children for our Big Draw competition. The special exhibition follows a series of workshops in October in which the youngsters were encouraged to draw from nature, using my pictures as inspiration.
More than 120 children took part, and we held a special opening over the weekend for the children and their parents to view the work.
The pictures the children produced were outstanding. I don't think I could have done half as well at their age. Here are some of the winners.
Pictured on the right is Emily Dalton, whose drawing earned her second place in the general public catagory.And this is six-year-old Poppy Hutchinson whose beautiful drawing of a tawny owl earned her third place.

Shelly Best, pictured here on the right with her sister Natalie, won highly commended for her work.
The Big Draw is all about encouraging people to look carefully at their surroundings, which is what you have to do when you draw. I was encouraged by the way in which these young people are so inquisitive and so enthused by wildlife.

It was very difficult choosing an overall winner from such outstanding pictures, but tomorrow I shall be announcing the Young Wildlife Artist of the Year.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Docking station lures shiest birds

After Kingfishers, I think bullfinches are this country's most colourful bird. But they are such shy birds that in the past I have had trouble getting close enough to photograph them. Until, that is, I discovered their love for dock leaves.... read more in my Gazette & Herald article here.

Bullfinch on Appleblossom

The knowledge has helped with getting studies for paintings, such as the above.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Special Deliveries

My Christmas exhibition is now over and as with the end of every exhibition it leaves me feeling both sad and happy at the same time.
There was a really festive atmosphere here whilst it was taking place, but it was so busy I hardly had time to step out of the gallery.
Today I took the opportunity to get out and personally delivered the 10 original paintings I sold to their new homes. It is always sad to see them go, having spent so long researching and painting them - but great to see the new owner's delighted faces when I dropped them off.

Tufty, Original Oil Painting, now sold.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Time to buy your Christmas cards

Don't get caught out with the last minute Christmas postal rush. We have two new Christmas cards this year which should fit the bill:
Pheasant Portrait
Click here to order

Fox on Lookout
Click here to order

They each come with the words 'Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year' printed inside and cost £10 for a pack of 10, including postage and packaging.