Thursday, 4 July 2013

Feathers and Shell

We had a long walk on the shore one evening.  It was a hot day and the cool breeze was so welcome as we wandered along the edge of the water.   It was alive with birds,  the many bird calls echoed across the estuary.  And to my delight lots and lots of feathers.  Of course I had to collect some and so many to choose from.
We sat and watched a heron dipping his head into the water and  saw him catching an eel.  A second heron came and they seemed to argue,  eventually one flew off and left the other to fish alone.  It always fascinates me to see the huge wings take this tall bird up and fly with such ease through the air.  There was a lot of water about  and the birds were feeding after the high tide.   The ducks gathered together and swam in circles on the large pool of water formed by the tide,  a new attraction as they usually prefer the open sandy area further away.   Oyster catcher wander along the waters edge  and seem to stay in their pairs.  As we move on along we see the swifts  and swallows fly high above, then suddenly  dive  down almost touching the ground and  just as quickly swirl around as they fly  displaying their effortless acrobatic skills.   A curlew and crow or a rook  squabble in the air,  perhaps the black bird is too near a nest for the curlew to feel comfortable.  The oyster catchers are equally alarmed if a bird gets too near them and call out a loudly,  frantically warning of danger.

We had a little danger ourselves, as the sand was wet and very slippery.  With a hand full of my finds I was well aware of the wet sinking sands after quite a high tide and keep away from it.  The tide line was full of beautiful  pieces of seaweed and  many crabs of all different sizes  and we saw some small jelly fish washed onto the grass.  I had decided to just collect some feathers.  I had  plenty to choose from and gathered  a black and white one from the oyster catcher, and some brown and white striped curlew feathers, assorted gull feathers and a delicate white and brown patterned feather to name a few.

  I already had plenty but collected the three brown and white patterned gulls feathers as I knew they would make an interesting ink drawing.
Two of the feathers which I sketched with sepia ink using a dip in pen and a paintbrush. I sat outside in the garden as I worked on this, balancing the sketchbook on my knee and kept blowing away the tiny insects which landed on my page and wanted to walk across it.  I also had this blue shell from the same walk, it was really out of reach in the sloppy sand but I spotted it and knew it was  going to be interesting.  The low evening light was somehow catching all the detail as it cast shadows across it and revealed the patterns and textures. My husband balanced on a slippery mound of the grassy banking and reached with an outstretched hand,  as I stood safely on the bank and held onto his  other arm.  Suddenly his foot slipped, he wobbled and slid into the sloppy muddy sand,  resulting in one very muddy shoe but not before he managed to grab the shell.  I had to hopefully prove it was worth getting muddy for!

Needless to say I felt  huge pressure to make some nice drawings of the shell after ruining his shoe.  It is an interesting shell with lots of bumps and growths of smaller sea creatures attached to the shell.  First I sat outside on a lovely day and used the fine black ink pens.
Hope it was worth getting muddy for ?

I really enjoyed drawing the three feathers, in a new eco book with recycled paper.  The two together were drawn outside and  the third feather was drawn indoors on a different day using my acrylic inks and a paint brush.  They are three beautiful feathers and I will be giving them some more of my time with some careful drawings indoors and insect free.

Last week on a really wet day  I decided to also use my new soft Lino and tools and used the feathers as the subject.  I  did not plan or draw any image, I just cut freehand with the tools and this is what happened.

  I printed it in green printing ink and was pleased with this first attempt.   It took several hours of carving and gave me a better idea of how it feels to use.

 I also been giving more of my time  recording the colours  of the blue shell.
                                                       I used acrylic ink to paint the shell .
                                           Love the colours of this evening sky and the clouds.
The weather turned to rain and it was chilly again.  I enjoyed the sunsets while I could.. During the wet days we cannot see the hills some days, the view  is all hidden  by low clouds as it rains all day.
  Then how beautiful to see the hills again.   Every day is different,  the views are from my window towards the Lakeland hills.
Hope everyone is having some nice days.  Hope you enjoyed seeing what I have been doing.   Thank you for your visits and for the lovely comments which I love to read.         Millyx
Heron photograph by my husband.    All other photographs by me on my ipad.