Monthly Archives: November 2021

October Arrivals

“October Arrivals” Neocolor II and coloured pencils, 27.7 x 24.5 cm. November 2021

In October Rainbow Bee Eaters fly south from New Guinea, northern Australia and parts of Indonesia to breed. One of the easiest places to observe them if you happen to live in Perth is at Lake Gwelup. The birds in this area are so used to photographers that they positively POSE for the camera.

The birds arrive and so do the photographers. I knew nothing about these birds until this year. It is thanks to the generous and enthusiastic Facebook members of the group “Western Australian Birds” that I became aware of RBEs and where to find them.

When Matthew and I turned up at Lake Gwelup the bird paparazzi were also there. I seemed to be the only photographer without a huge telephoto lens. Mostly the photographers were intent on getting shots of these gorgeous birds flying (which is pretty hard to do). I was more interested in a portrait so that I could do a character study.

This Rainbow Bee Eater reminds me of the Peanuts character Snoopy. It’s something about the glint in his eye; he is supremely self-confident, at ease in his world, razor sharp and adorable all at once. Behind him and in the distance a photographer stalks with her telephoto lens at the ready.

The bird in the photo below may be the same one as in my drawing as it and the source photo for my drawing were taken a minute apart. I call this photo, “Matt hoping to see a Rainbow Bee Eater”.

My husband, Matthew, looks in the wrong direction as the Rainbow Bee Eater nonchalantly poses behind him.
A small sample of Bird Paparazzi. (It was after visiting Gwelup that I realised I needed a big lens.)

I loved doing this drawing – it flowed without struggle from start to finish. (I certainly can’t say that about all my drawings.) Here is one of my tricks for creating light-as-air filigree-type marks which en masse add up to an out-of-focus effect. I insert a full-length pencil into a pencil extender so that the pencil becomes very long. Held loosely at the far end of the extender the marks produced are feather-light. It is, in fact, more like painting than drawing.

Thank you for coming to Gwelup!!

Welcome to the Water Dish

“Welcome to the Water Dish” 20.6 x 24.5 cm. November 2021

On the balcony railing an elegant water dish is placed for use by small birds. A Silvereye (south-western form) checks out immediate surroundings before taking a drink.

Welcome to the Water Dish” is a reminder to put water outside as the Southern Hemispheric summer approaches. It is easy to do and is so rewarding when thirsty birds come into one’s garden for rest and refreshment.

Honey Pie

“Honey Pie” 16 x 19.5 cm. Neocolor II and coloured pencils. November 2021

As I draw I think about possible titles. This one eluded me until as I was finishing the drawing today The Beatles suggested “Honey Pie“. I’m playing the track (off “The White Album“) as I type. Now it will stay in my head (and very possibly yours also) as an ear-worm for the rest of the day.

For those who are not local, this bird is a New Holland Honeyeater. It is standing on I-don’t-know-what but I’m guessing it is a retractable hose holder. I took the photo for this drawing at The Berry Farm in Rosa Glen near Margaret River in August. As it is three hours’ drive from where I’m sitting right now, I can’t hop outside to check what this piece of garden hardware definitely is.

Don’t you love it how birds appear when you are in the garden? You’re deep in thought when suddenly you look up to see a bird scrutinizing you at close range. I find birds so uplifting to my spirit that I’m glad The Beatles planted in my head a title which truly is a term of endearment. Thanks John and Paul!

Melting Memory

“Melting Memory” 30 x 20 cm. Neocolor II and coloured pencils. October 2021

After drawing “Last Night I Dreamed of Kyoto” I am still traveling but this time revisiting Paris. “Melting Memory” goes further into a dream-scape than the Kyoto drawing and deeper towards abstraction though it is still clearly a nocturnal street scene.

I am able to delve back to the actual evening by looking inside my journal. Tuesday 18 October 2016: – “I went out in the early evening – back to rue Saint Denis. I could see black clouds coming and sure enough it poured. I was stuck for quite a while under an awning wondering how I’d get home. But – WET STREETS! As I neared home the rain stopped so I kept going. I walked down to Saint Paul. I took lots of photos of lights and wet reflective streets. I’m in bed now, worn out. I haven’t eaten anything today except baguette, cheese, jam, tomatoes, cereal, apples and berries…and a pastry.”

Below is “Last Night I Dreamed of Kyoto“, the drawing which walked my memory and I further back in time to a Parisian rainy reminiscence.

“Last Night I Dreamed of Kyoto” October 2021