The recent weather inspired these two small oil paintings - and they are now available as prints - 10" x 8", mounted, £25 each.
Why not send a grey, wet and miserable Orkney print as a gift this year? Share the love!
Having to make space on the gallery walls for new work, so in a fit of madness we have reduced the prices of many original paintings.
The new prices are the unframed price - please note postage and packing is at cost, or FREE for orders over £450.
Many thanks or looking!
1: arctic terns (50cm x 35cm, watercolour, was £575, no
2: black headed gulls (80cm x 50cm, watercolour, was £750,
now £450 - unframed)
3: female red-backed shrike (40cm x 30cm) was £525, now £285
4: hares and snipes (conte & watercolour, 90cm x 50cm,
was £835 now £SOLD)
5: lapwing (watercolour, 80cm x 50cm, was £735 now £375 -
6: liquid black - shags and eiders (charcoal, 70cm x 50cm,
was £785 now £485 - unframed)
7: long-tailed ducks (charcoal, 90cm x 50cm, was £775 now
8: manx shearwaters (charcoal, 90cm x 50cm, was £825 now
9: Roller (70cm x 50cm, watercolour, was £785 now £390
10: Should I stay or should I go - shags (charcoal, 75cm x
50cm, was £695 now £400 unframed)
11: trout (charcoal, 80cm x 50cm, was £395 now £200
12: willow warbler (watercolour, 50cm x 35cm, was £445 now
13: woodchat shrike (watercolour, 70cm x 50cm, was £1250 now
14: wrens in butterbur (conte & watercolour, 80cm x
50cm, was £775 now £450 unframed)
15: yellow-browed warblers (conte & watercolour, 80cm x
50cm, was £855 now £SOLD unframed)
It seems an age since I updated my blog . . . that’s because
it has been! Almost all of this year has
been spent trying to get the cottage into some semblance of shape before our
Building Warrant expires and making dozens of paintings for my new show at The
Loft Gallery on South Ronaldsay.
The show is titled ‘Near & Far’ – referring to the
eternal dichotomy of representing those things dear to me on these islands; the
close-up wonderment of the special species living here and the momentous land-and-sea-scapes
containing them. Most of the works are
small-ish oils on board – a technique I am becoming more drawn to recently.
The show opened a couple of weeks ago and runs until
September the 5th – please try and pop along if you’re in the area. Here are a few images from the exhibition:
This book is not an anatomy of birds, states the first line
of the introduction to The Unfeathered Bird, by Katrina Van Grouw.What is it then? It is a beautifully
illustrated book dealing with ornithology or it is a gracefully annotated
picture book. In fact it’s both; a convergence of art and science – the science
is authoritative and expressive; complex structures, forms and functions are
revealed and explained by the author who is familiar and comfortable with the
technical detail of anatomy.
The way that birds move, and especially fly, takes a great
deal of explaining (and reciprocal understanding).In this book complicated mechanical processes
are described in eloquent prose, at every step supplemented by perfectly
rendered illustrations. The book is produced beautifully on superb quality
paper which is a joy to handle.
There is a distinct flavour to the artwork, classically
crafted and hauntingly reminiscent of Gothic images – there will be the
inevitable comparisons with these drawings and those of the great historical
masters, and deservedly so.But Van
Grouw looks to emulate no-one; she draws in her own way – exquisitely!For over two decades she has worked
predominantly in subdued and low-key hues, painting with charcoals and other
muted media, toiling away at her craft.The works in this fascinating book are the culmination of this extensive
and highly successful career.Van
Grouw’s use of monochrome or, occasionally slightly tinted drawings with highlighted
areas, brings a sombre feel to the artwork – a respectful solemnity for the
extinguished lives of the birds being depicted. And she handles the media with
expert precision and dexterity.
The technical aspects of the book are softened and accessible.The book follows a systematic order and
threads of convergent evolution are woven seamlessly into the story of the
There’s a fascinating and curious paradox in the way the
birds are displayed on the page.There
is (of course) no doubt that these specimens have been stripped of all semblance
of life; many are presented as skeletons, some still have musculature in place
- yet it is the skill of the artist that the subjects are decidedly more
vibrant than many conventionally realist paintings of fully-feathered birds. The
artist’s decision to re-create lifelike poses for her subjects removes any
stuffiness in the compositions. One piece in particular (the Eurasian
sparrowhawk with its blue tit prey) illustrates this dichotomy; the attacker’s
posture brimming with latent activity whilst the dead skeletal blue tit could
not be more lifeless!The character of
birds is expressed deftly – a glance at the parrots leaves us in no doubt as to
their captivating personalities. The
underwater view of the red-throated diver is an exceptionally elegant piece of
work, incorporating the underside of floating lily-pads and a tiny fish
skimming along the (inferred) water surface.
The most striking and enjoyable aspect to The Unfeathered
Bird is the way the text works with the images.Often visual artists – usually reliant on creating images as our primary
mode of communication, often fail to achieve a similar level of quality with
our written efforts. Not so in this case.Rarely does a book combine written and visual content so
completely.Prose comes just as readily
to this author as the images do to her as the artist; and all combined in one
sumptuous offering.The passages are a
delight to read and would stand up well with even the most rudimentary of illumination;
when fortified by drawing of such sublime quality the result is astonishing.
The writing has moments of wit and pathos, whilst underpinning this is a
dialogue full of chatty authority.The
balance is perfect and I found myself flicking between images and prose
subconsciously; a wonderful interplay of balancing counterpoints.
The author reminds us of historical follies and
aberrations.The hunting and collecting trade
gets a mention and there is a moment of pure brutality; “. . . notice the violence
sustained at the back of the skull where the bird was bludgeoned to death.”There are no prizes for guessing the species
being described here, although sadly, it could be one of many.
A day watching fully-feathered birds in the field rarely
disappoints, nor fails to surprise; this book of unfeathered birds is no
different in this respect.For instance;
did you know that hornbills wear make-up? . . . or that toucans are likely to tire
and drown if they attempt to fly over watercourses just a teensy-bit too wide?
Crammed with information, regularly poetic and often
poignant, insightful, illuminative and educational; no doubt, yet it is the
drawings which make this publication the stand-out, stand-alone volume that it
is, and which will ultimately and absolutely make this book the seminal work it
seems destined to be.Ranging from
diagrammatic illustrations to richly-textured interpretative observations, each
is executed with clinical assuredness and delicate sensitivity.The enjoyment of this book is easy, but to
allow it to reveal the full depth of its rich textures, acute literary and
artistic meaning will give the owner many years of pure pleasure.
As Van Grouw defiantly states in her introduction; “This book
is not an anatomy of birds”.However,
yet incidentally, it is.But it is more
than that.It reveals aspects of
birdlife which would remain hidden to most of us; it weaves tales of
ornithological endeavours and vandalisms and, at its heart, connects art with
science and history.And in a manner
which tantalises and delights in a way only the great works of art can.
This is the quintessential labour of love; over 25 years in
the conception, drawing and writing.It
is a genuine life-work and will surely earn itself and its author a merited
place in the history of the Art of the Natural World.
The Unfeathered Bird is published by Princeton University
Press – ISBN978-0-691-15134-2
I am currently exhibiting a painting at the
prestigious Nature In Art, Gloucestershire as part of the Society of Wildlife
Artists 50 Years Anniversary Exhibition.
Current SWLA members were asked to chose a
fellow SWLA member from any point of the 50 year history and write a short
piece on why they have been inspired by that artist. With examples from artists
spanning the history of the Society and insights from the members on why they
have chosen them, it is a fascinating show with a wide selection of work on
Please click on the link for more information
about the exhibition:
I was deeply honoured to have been chosen as
an ‘inspirational artist’ and was extremely touched and flattered that the
artist who selected me was the wonderful young painter Nick Derry (http://nickderry.webs.com/).The exhibition at Nature in Art runs
from July 30th to September 1st.
Here’s the painting I’m exhibiting and one of Nick’s
With the SOC exhibition now finished and the gallery walls well-stocked with lots of fresh work, I've managed to spend a bit of time making some new pieces. I don't get the opportunity to work in oils much during the year as the drying times can be a problem regarding hanging and/or packing, but I adore the medium. So, I'm getting out the fat tubes and big brushes and seeing where this particular road takes me . . . .
. . . here's a few from the past couple of weeks;
I've been extremely busy making work for a brand new show at Aberlady, Lothian which opens on 13th April. There will be 52 new paintings on show in the excellent Waterston House, headquarters of the Scottish Ornithologists Club.
All the paintings are now finished (phew!) and the ferry booked. Really looking forward to the trip and the opening. See you on the other side . . .
Fabulous, beautifully illustrated full-colour hardback publication featuring work by some of the World's foremost nature artists. Signed by Tim Wootton. £45 (+Post and packing) - please email to order - firstname.lastname@example.org
Born and raised in a small rural village in South Yorkshire.
Graduated with a Ba(hons) in 1986.
Shortlisted for the Young European Bird Artist of the Year, 1991.
Winner of Wildscape Magazine's Wildlife Artist of the Year 2008 - editor's category.
Winner of World Birds category, BBC Wildlife Magazine Wildlife Artist of the Year, 2010.
Won the PJC award for Drawing at the Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition, 2010.
Winner Birdwatch / Swarovski Artist of the Year, 2011.
Elected Associate Member Society of Wildlife Artists, 2011.
Writes and illustrates articles on birdwatching and general wildlife and country issues.
Author of Drawing & Painting Birds - The Crowood Press, 2010.
Lives in Orkney.