Evensong

“Evensong” is a drawing of rue de Rivoli in coloured pencils and Neopastels. 280 x 300 mm. May 2017.

Why would I give a prayer-like title to a drawing of a busy Paris street?  The answer is that when I walk and am deeply inspired by my surroundings, what could be more like prayer?  Or to think of a more modern term, ‘presence’ is what I feel when my senses give me pure joy – rapture at the gorgeousness as day transforms to evening on my rue de Rivoli stroll.

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My Blue Whale Neighbours

Who knew that Blue Whales hang out off the coast of Perth during our summers, a few nautical miles from where I am sitting typing at home right now?  Not me, until last week when I happened across Whale Watch Western Australia on the internet.  Not one to muck about, I booked myself a place on the  7 hour excursion which went out yesterday.  Here is some of what I saw…

At 8 a.m sharp we glided out of Sardine Wharf at Fremantle. The water close to shore was like a millpond.

“This way”, signalled a cormorant as we left the inner harbour behind.

Our destination was an area known as Perth Canyon.  This is a submarine canyon located off the coast of Perth approximately 22 km west of Rottnest Island.  It has an average depth of 1.5 km (5000 ft) and is 15 km across, making it larger than the Grand Canyon.  As it is a nutrient-rich eco hot spot, it is a perfect feeding ground for mega fauna including the Pygmy Blue Whale.  This cetacean is a subspecies of the Antarctic or True Blue Whale.  ‘Pygmy’ is a misleading name as this whale is not much smaller than the Antarctic Blue Whale – measuring around 70 to 80 ft long.

A Fleshy Footed Shearwater.

Another view of the shearwater.

Photographs of Blue Whales don’t do them justice.  This is a case of “you really had to be there” as only from the boat can you fathom how majestic and ENORMOUS these mammals are.  The crew of Whale Watch Western Australia love their subjects and were extremely respectful towards them.  They gently maneuvered the boat so that the whales were comfortable in our presence.

A mother and calf were close to us. When a third whale appeared, she nudged her young one into position next to the boat to keep the other whale at bay.

Summer being essentially over, soon our whales will head off to Indonesian waters to spend winter there.

An elegant fluke sequence as the whale dives…

A shearwater lands on the water to enjoy some  dispersing whale poo. (That is the orange-colour floury substance you can see in the water.) Whale poo is nutrient-rich and fertilises the ocean.

Delicious.

What a delight to see albatrosses!  After much checking of “The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds” and the internet,  I can safely say that this is a Yellow-nosed Albatross (Indian ocean form).  A medium-sized albatross such as this is known as a mollymawk.

What an exceptional day yesterday was.  To think that all this is happening so close to where I live.  I also saw dolphins, petrels and Australasian gannets but I didn’t get any good photos of them.  (They were too fast!)  Yesterday was a bit like going through the wardrobe in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and finding myself in Narnia; pure magic.

My neighbours are Blue Whales  – who knew?!?

https://www.whalewatchwesternaustralia.com/

 

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The Elegant 4th

“The Elegant 4th”
Coloured pencils and Neopastels. 190 x 285 mm. April 2017.

This drawing celebrates the simple elegance of a quiet street in the 4th arrondissement on an October afternoon.

You may also like to look at the page Coloured Pencil Impressionism

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In Town Tonight

“In Town Tonight”
A new drawing in my “Paris Revisited” series.
195 x 245 mm. April 2017

“In Town Tonight” is an example of a small arrangement which I found within a larger composition.

Occasionally a photo will be just perfect the way it is but most of my compositions are the result of cropping and then editing out bits I don’t want.  In this case I was drawing from a very small part of my original photo.

The source photograph for “In Town Tonight” taken on 27th October 2016 on rue Saint Denis.

My husband, Matthew, particularly likes “In Town Tonight”.  He associates with the suited figure.  In my mind this could be a Parisian version of a Japanese ‘salaryman’ – a little disheveled after a few drinks – gingerly making his way to the station.  (Possibly my soft-focus is how he is seeing the world at this time.)

 

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Surveillance

“Surveillance”
A drawing of an Osprey at North Fremantle. 275 x 350 mm. March 2017  Drawn with coloured pencils, Neocolor and Neopastel.

Perched at the pinnacle of North Mole lighthouse the Osprey surveys his space.  His penetrating eyes register every movement.  When he is ready he will swoop off the narrow ledge to patrol on the air currents.  He will dive-bomb the blue swells for fish, splashing down on impact.

Pandion haliaetus is an alpha bird.  Standing beneath this large fish hawk and peering upwards, I respectfully acknowledge my place in the pecking order.

One of my photographs which shows the Osprey at the top of the lighthouse.

 

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Stepping Out

“Stepping Out”
A silver gull in Fremantle drawn with coloured pencils, Neopastels and Neocolor.
205 x 250 mm. March 2017

Sometimes I am forced to fully prostrate myself in order to get the reference shot I need for a drawing.  Such was the case for the series of photos I took of this particular silver gull last August.  If anybody saw me lying flat on the dirty concrete at the port, well, too bad!  I needed to be at bird level so I had to pretend to myself that I didn’t look ridiculous.

“The Humble Seagull” is a drawing of the same bird which I drew several months ago.

There are people who tell me they like birds but not seagulls.  Yes, seagulls may act aggressively if they feel threatened, or greedy when they want our fish and chips.   I am quite sure that seagulls have variable personalities just as we do.  I’ve met some friendly and inquisitive gulls during my photography trips who come close to see what I’m doing and then linger with me for a while.  I think they are handsome birds with quirky and gregarious personalities.

“Port Side” – drawn at the same time as “The Humble Seagull”
2016

 

 

 

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Turn! Turn! Tern!

I find myself unexpectedly in Busselton (Western Australia) this weekend.  At the end of (very hot) Saturday, I walk out on the town’s famous jetty to see what the birds are doing.

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Busselton on the coast of Western Australia

As the sun sets, the beautiful light is caught in the feathers of the circling terns.

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I am sure this one is studying me as I pan his movements with my camera…

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…then continues on his way over my head.

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“To everything, turn, tern, turn,/ there is a season, turn, tern, turn,/ And a time to every purpose under heaven…”

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YES!!!

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As I turn to leave, I look up and there on the light pole is a tern observing the scene – and close by (but also far away) is the moon.

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I think I will head back.  The sun has set now but the terns continue their flights and aerial strikes in the ever-dimming light.

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“Good night.”

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