Roller wire

Keeping the West African theme going, here is a Broad-billed roller that conveniently perched
on a wire opposite the garden wall just long enough for a quick scribble in my sketchbook.
There is a three year gap between that observation and this painting. I kept the rendering lose and simple,
giving the flat blue sky some interest with vertical brush strokes, and showing off the subtle mauve and
maroon colours of the plumage. A fairly common site along roadsides in Nigeria, this species has the
brightest yellow bill that stands out against any background.

Broad-billed roller acrylic
Broad-billed roller, acrylic on canvas 16×20 inches, 2017

Recycling parts of a failed watercolour painting into collage

Sketches from three years ago used as reference for this paper collage. Agamas, though absolutely
everywhere in Nigeria, never let you get close, and these two females looked down on me with
confidence, verging on smugness, knowing they could dash away at lightning speed.

agamas
Agamas on top of the wall. Drawn from life in the garden, Osogbo, Nigeria
agamas watercolour
Taking the sketches a bit further with some colour.
“Has he seen us? Yeah I think he’s seen us…”

I’ve recycled pieces of what was a ‘failed’ watercolour painting (we’ve all got them…), in this case
a landscape of a wheat field and evening sky, to hint at the texture and colour of the lizards atop
the garden wall in Osogbo. I omitted the actual wall, as I wanted to concentrate the viewer’s
attention on the lizards under the huge banana leaf. It may have been interesting to include
some shards of glass for a spot of urban realism, but I decided against it. For the impression
of bright sunlight bouncing off of every surface, it seemed ‘less is more’ was the way to go.

Agamas, collage 2017
Agamas, paper collage, 530 x 350mm approx. 2017 Placing the minimum of elements still seemed to take nearly all day until I was happy with it.

 

Mood for a day

winter-lane-terling-feb12-2014
While we wait for the grey skies and water to give way to spring sunshine, the sketching goes on. This watery lane shows a typical rain laden grey sky over the oaks and ditches.

On an overcast dry day, this woodpigeon sits quite comfortably in a pruned cherry tree, looking half asleep but fully alert. A little grooming here or there, but no need to hurry.
Drawn using binoculars. Awkward.

woodpigeon-jan-2014
Blustery high winds saw this blackbird take shelter on top of the garden fence under a large buddleia bush. He stayed for a good ten minutes, an unusually long time for active passerine birds to stay put, but time enough for me to produce a few sketches and close enough not to need binoculars. First in pencil then in biro, the drawing bottom right shows him hunkered down, buffeted by the wind, checking what I’m doing…windy-blackbird-feb-2014