Monthly Archives: February 2022

Beautiful Bird

“Beautiful Bird” drawn in February 2022, 19 x 23.5 cm.

When I was nearly finished this drawing Matthew walked past my easel. He exclaimed, “Oh what a beautiful bird!” Well that was that. I couldn’t call the drawing anything other than “Beautiful Bird”. Somewhere in my head I made a link with John Lennon’s song “Beautiful Boy“. (And now the Lennon song is playing on a loop inside me… “Beautiful beautiful beautiful beautiful bird…”) I also think of my mother who might once have exclaimed with just the same enthusiasm as Matthew’s.

I took the photo for “Beautiful Bird” in early December. The male Purple Backed Fairy Wrens were in their full breeding colours then. But look now – in February. See how they are beginning to change into their more subtle autumn/winter fashions? I took the following photos just the other day…

On the 2nd February the change is clearly taking place.
On the 12th February there is even more change.

Let us not forget the Splendid Fairy Wren. Here is a male photographed on 11th February. He is also losing his breeding solid blues and purples as white and grey feathers replace them.

My December 2021 drawing “Blue Muse” is a reminder of how the male Splendid Fairy Wren looks in his breeding colours –

“Blue Muse” December 2021

I am awe-struck by nature. I never knew any of this until recently. And so I spend my time these days – observing, photographing and drawing – away with the fairies.

The last word goes to the female fairy wren – who doesn’t need to change. She is perfectly perfect in her one outfit all year round.

A female Splendid Fairy Wren photographed on 11th February 2022.

Box Seat

“Box Seat” Neocolor II and coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle paper, 28.5 x 33 cm. February 2022.

At Fremantle inner harbour a Silver Gull commandeers the best seat in the house. The distant objects – usually hard-edged – are diffused by light drizzle. How can a working port be a peaceful space? Yet the resting seagull, soft light and horizontal forms make it so.

Below you can see the drawing’s progression.

Stage 1: Neocolor II undercoat covering everything except bird.
Stage 2: Bird undercoated with coloured pencil only (no Neocolor). Why? Because I want the bird to have a different quality from all that surrounds it.
Stage 3: Starting to build up layers with pencils over Neocolor on lower area (except bird and box seat).
Stage 4: Coloured pencil layers moving upwards and outwards over undercoated Neocolor.
Stage 5: I attend to the sky and cranes. The picture is at a stage where I decide to begin on the foreground.
“Box Seat” completion. Because I used coloured pencils only on the bird, he stands out from his Neocolor-influenced surroundings, drawing attention to himself. He is pure – pure coloured pencil!