Sunday, 5 June 2011

Week 22

We have had some beautiful hot sunny days and I have enjoyed sitting in the garden drawing feathers for my Week 22 page.  I listened to the birds singing and the bees buzzing as I  sat on the grass, sometimes chasing my feathers as they blew away in the breeze.   The larger feathers were drawn and painted at the kitchen table, with the sun streaming in and good light which helps with the details.  A birds skull found by my husband on one of our walks on the shore was added to the page.  It has an unusual beak and after a search he has found it to be a "Razorbill", the white marks on the beak helped identify it.  We often find dead birds and the sea can also wash them up onto the shore.  This skull was just as he found it  with the lower beak  missing .   I used my acrylic inks for the feathers and after drawing the skull gave it a light wash with ink to seal the pencil.   I chose some of the many feathers I found on the shore last week  and filled a double spread in my sketchbook.
Today we went for our walk about five o'clock.  Sadly the sunshine has gone and we have returned to a cold breezy day again. We had to wrap up against the chilly north east wind.   The shore was empty and we walked along the edge of the tidal river watching all the birds.  It was a high tide about one o'clock and now the birds were feeding in the water.  There was a huge group of ducks, I counted to  fifty so estimated there was about a hundred.  Large Heron gulls, black headed gulls and Oyster catchers were all searching for food at the waters edge.  Then the magnificent sight as the Heron flew over and landed in the water.  
I  searched  along the sandy banks to see what the tide had left in the tangles of seaweed and grass.  More crabs, whelks egg cases, feathers, oak leaves, different coloured sea weeds and bits of branches and leaves.  The jelly fish are now  thin round plastic looking discs  moulded to the grass,  dried out with the hot days. The grass has grown and the pink thrift is taller with out the sheep to eat it.  Suddenly my husband discovered  the find of the day, a beautiful spotted birds egg, an empty shell washed up by the sea.   A lovely subject for my week 23 page,  so look out for it.
We walked our usual route and talked about the high tide expected next Saturday,  what might it bring for my next page, something interesting I hope.   The two swallows followed us,  darting in front of us at high speed but no sign of the swan today.    As it started spitting, the rain made circles on the water and so we headed for home.  It was because of the rain I nearly smashed my precious find,  I had placed the egg in my hood to keep it safe, and forgetting about it being there I started to pulled it up!  It did arrive home safely ready to draw.  I hope the chick which hatched from it is also safe, as we think it is the egg of an oyster catcher.
Hope you like the pages.  As always, thank you for your comments, it is lovely to read them.  So  if you have time I would love to hear from you.                 Millyx.
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Frances said...

Milly, those feathers are beautifully done! And how grand to have the bird's beak as well, and to have already found more treasures for the next page of your gorgeous 2011 visual journal.

It's so interesting to read about your walks and to learn how various weather patterns do influence what nature gives you for subject matter.

Perhaps the swan will reappear next week. I'll mention that I have yet to see the familiar Central Park swans in the lake this spring. Wondering about that, too.


Carol Creech said...

What a fantastic page!! I love seeing all of the feathers and that skull! What a find. Great fun to see your paintings and read your post. In addition, I had a lucky find right in our backyard this weekend...a hawk tail feather (probably from a first molt) was right there (rare for the little ol' suburbs...) I hope to do some drawings of it and will post if I do.

Pondside said...

I love all those feathers and will visit again when I'm at home with the bigger computer - the notebook doesn't do justice to your drawings.
I look forward to seeing the spotted egg - good find!

Diana said...

Oh Milly, gorgeous again. Love the way you capture the feathers grace. The skull is beautiful too, and I really enjoy seeing your hands as you draw. It makes it come alive. Thank you. I look forward to your post every weekend. love,Diana

Ruth said...

Lovely work again. The bird skull is my favourite, really nice detail.
Your blog is inspirational, looking forward to next week already!

Zuzu said...

I click on your images to see them up close, Milly, and I cannot get over the detail you achieve. Gorgeous!
I also enjoy hearing about your outings, and the wonderful things you find!
Wishing you a lovely one,
~ Zuzu

Swan Artworks said...

Milly I'm sure you can guess just how much I love this page! Just fantastic! Beautiful, beautiful feathers. I have a little row of bird skulls on my shelf above my painting desk, with a beautiful buzzard skull being the King of the collection... but that find of yours is some magnificent looking skull isn't it.
I don't think I got round to commenting on your previous page but I really liked the detail of the crab drawing, so interesting seeing it in two different mediums on the page...
Carrie... :)

Feathers said...

As always, another great page! That skull is a wonderful find, and thanks for identifying it for us. The feathers are beautifully done as well. I'll be watching next week for the egg shell you found this week.

Melody said...

Love the feathers as always... and I find it fascinating to see the skull of the bird (in a sad for the little bird kind of way...)
I have a teeny weeny little jaw bone from a bat that I keep in my cabinet... and tiny little mouse skull too. Nature is fascinating isn't it? Happy Drawing for another week! :))))

vicpop1 said...

Vicky and Harvey here - having found your site via a google search. Am encouraging Harvey with his art as he seems to have a talent for observational drawing. He said your feathers and shells look real. Charlotte also most impressed.
I was even inspired to have a go myself and am quite pleased with the result - nowhere near as good as yours though. Was interested to read about how you use a wash to seal the pencil - not sure how to go about that.
We bought some ink pencils from Keswick pencil factory last week and they are lovely to use - quite vibrant.
The pencil factory had a celebration day with a few different artists there demonstrating their skills and a chance for people to sit and try out their range of materials - was really good.

Bye for now

Vic and Harvey

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Love 'week 22' your wonderful drawings and washes have me itching to spend some time using a pencil again Milly. Have a good week. Lesley x

suz said...

I love this page. The feathers are beautiful and soft and a wonderful contrast to the bird skull. Thank you for sharing photos of the progress of your work. It's always interesting to see.

wandering said...

What a wonderful find, the little skull - and a wonderful page it makes, too.
(Can I say thank you? Your drawing was the inspiration to look at some more skull drawings this afternoon with my eldest (who is 9), then to get the big red deer (we think) skull out of the garden and spend some time trying to capture it on paper. My daughter's picture was fantastic - and I had fun too.. So thank you!)

Mary said...

What finds during that walk - I'll be looking for the bird's egg next time, meanwhile loving these illustrations and reading about your changing weather pattern.

We are broiling here, reach 102 yesterday and by early afternoon I just about gave up doing anything but sit still with cold glasses of beverages! The rose wine was the best and I had two glasses, to heck with the diet!

Today I was in the garden early - spray painting metal patio furniture to spruce it up - then planted basil and parsley seeds in pots and watered everything in sight - all plants are really struggling in this intense heat with not a drop of rain.

Still posting on the Lakes - the cloudy, cool (perfect for me) days are making me wish I was still there!

Happy weekend dear - we are off to a lavender farm celebration day tomorrow - hope to get nice pics despite the promised heat. Hats, sunscreen and lots of water will be required.

Hugs - Mary

Aqeela said...

Milly this is such a beautiful post, i could really picture the beach and the birds and the things that you found whilst you were there. Your artwork is so charming. Thank you so much for the comment you left on my blog, we have since been finding more snails and lettling them explore our hands!
Aqeela xx

The Adventurous Art Teacher said...

Your work and blog are just lovely. In the fall I will definitely share with my drawing students.

Teresa said...

Sure would love to have some chilly windy days here! It's hot and humid here - highs in the 90's every day this week (that's 32-36 Celsius) and the heat index has been 103-108F (39 to 42 Celsius)! Too hot for this English gal!

Loved your egg drawing and the beautiful feathers.

Matteo Grilli said...

These pages are awesome!