I live in a very small village in the middle of Devon, we don't get a lot of snow here. I was brought up in the North of England and remember many snowy days sledging down hills on bin bags, with frozen fingers and toes. I know the snow can cause a lot of problems for vulnerable people and those who have to manage living out on the streets, but for our house the last few days have simply meant we can't leave the village. We have plenty of food and warmth and my children are thrilled to have a couple of days off .
So what has all this to do with my work? As I have spoken about before I try to go a walk everyday to keep the creative juices flowing yesterday's walk was more challenging than normal but breathtaking in more ways than one.
But I found inspiration even closer to our cottage. Our neighbours have a remarkable apple tree , remarkable because it has apples on it all through winter In fact some are still hanging on the tree as I write. I am not at all sure how they taste but they do provide a constant supply of food for the birds . The past 2 days the tree has been visited by dozens of fieldfares. I first painted a fieldfare for a room at Lympstone manor, but not since. Having so many so close to hand I could resist another go.
So first to find a composition and then to sketch it out.
Then I start work, I use reference photos so I can paint the eyes clearly , I like to know the detail and then I can choose what I want to leave out
Being able to watch the birds as I paint is a real treat
I spend a happy day adding details and taking details away seeing what I think looks best. I don't want to paint every feather but I want the very essence of the birds. I want to include those very special apples too....
I realise how fortunate I am not to have that debate about how or even if I try to get into work, and today my work was right outside my front door, stay warm everyone x