Thursday, October 17, 2013

Win a free wildlife event!

I'm offering followers the chance to win a free ticket to one of the many nature walks and talks taking place next week. Choose from a stargazing evening under the clear skies of the  Yorkshire Wolds, photography workshops with a Wildlife Photographer of the Year award winner, walks to watch barn owls, red kite watches and more by clicking here to link to my event page on the website. The first to click on to each of my events gets a free ticket. You could win  driving safari around Yorkshire's spectacular coastline worth £55 a children's falconry event or event a ringside seat at a talk about how I get up close to wildlife painting subjects.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Summery touches

My paintbrushes have been flying as I get a new series finished for my winter exhibition which opens on November 9th.
I don't know whether it was the rain setting in over the Yorkshire Wolds last week but something made me rebellious so I've gone for dandelions and harebells in the backgrounds!!
Still a way to go before these paintings are finished but I'm liking the summer feel.....
Exhibition runs here at Fotherdale Farm, Thixendale, North Yorkshire YO17 9LS between Nov 9-24th. Join me for a mince pie and mulled wine and warm up with these sunny pictures as well as walks to find red kites at a roost, a stargazing evening, kids falconry and much much more!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Setting the Scene

Like all portrait artists, I like my subjects to pose within an artfully arranged backdrop but since my foci are so very shy it can be tricky to get them to walk onto the set, let alone posture. 
Most of the time I concentrate on getting a good photograph out in the field and then work on my composition back in the studio.
But over the years I have begun to use the birds and animals that visit my garden and the fields around Thixendale as subjects and to design the backdrop for my paintings around them.
This acrylic painting of a tawny owl chick, for instance, took many years in the making. 

Although he doesn't know it, the chick is posing on a prop I made and put up for him long before he was born.

He is standing at the edge of a wizened old hole in an elm stump that I salvaged many years ago and then took back to my workshop to adapt as a nest box.

I had to hoist it up into a tree and then wait patiently to see if an adult pair would move in.
When they eventually did, I then waited with baited breath for the chicks to be born. He was one of a large clutch and this is one of the many photographs I took of them as they began to explore the world about them.
It was many years before I finally sat down to apply the first brush strokes.
But if you think I'm dedicated to my art this week I read this article in The Guardian about two Victorian pioneers of wildlife photography who went to some quite bizarre and dangerous extremes to get up close to their wild subjects. 
 I will reveal more about how I get my wild subjects to pose at a new exhibition of my work which runs here at the gallery in Thixendale from November 9-24th. Please visit my website for more details.