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.


Julie Clay Illustration said...

Beautiful feather paintings, love the lino cut too, it would make a great pattern. The shell is lovely, if you scanned and saved the last one, then you could do watercolour washes over the acrylic ink?? Just a thought? Looks like it was all enjoyable, and a lovely weekend to come too :)

Frances said...

Milly, I very much enjoyed every bit of this post. Hoping that your husband's gallantry will result in some restoration of his shoe collection. Several meanings there.

It's interesting to see you exploring lino printing. The feathers seem a fine subject. How kind of those beautiful birds to leave you a souvenir.

Do be on the lookout for an email from me.

Meanwhile, let me tell you yet again what a pleasure it is to visit your site.


Hindustanka said...

Hi, Milly! your new drawings are as usual delicate and precise. You have so much patience recording all those tiny lines, spots, dots, and color shades. I liked the stamp you made and the effect it gave on paper, could be used on the wall too :)
Have a happy weekend!


Wonderful ! Very goods drawings and linocut !

Unknown said...

I admire your talent and work, it is always a pure pleasure for me to visit your blog. best regards!

Feathers said...

Lovely walk, as always, and you brought back some great feathers to draw--and that wonderful shell!!! Definitely worth a muddied shoe to your husband, I'm sure. Glad you avoided the sinking sand--love the carved stamp you did, it's such fun trying new ways to record such finds. Happy Fourth to you from across the big pond-Anita.

Melody said...

The cost of shoe blue shell drawings are great! I love the little creatures attached to the shell...I guess everyone needs a home someplace. :)) The feathers are delightful ~ and the view of the hills, Ahhhhhhh. Is Beatrix's house in those hills someplace? Happy July to you! :)))))

RH Carpenter said...

I don't know which painting/drawing is more beautiful - I won't rate them as they all are delicate and beautiful! And your husband - a true gentleman and lovely person to risk his shoe for you and your artwork :)

Shenya de Silva said...

I love all your work! They are so beautiful and looks so much real!!

How do you really draw them into scale? I mean every time I try to draw something according to scale, some parts go so much out of scale the whole thing looks distorted!

Mayte clay said...

These drawings are wonderful.
All your drawings likes me a lot,
I have discovered your blog recently and i am trying to learn how drawing, thougth my progress is slowly.Your drawings are inspiring examples for me.
Greetings from Spain

AnaGF said...

The feather print turned out great, and so did the feathers and shell paintings. Milly, I have a question for you (if I may) - do you do all these drawings in your studio, or do you also paint on location? And if so, what materials do you take with you? Thank you!

Diana said...

Hi Milly, Your new feathers and shell is gorgeous. Well worth mud, shoe, whatever to get to! You capture these treasures so gracefully. love to you,Diana

Pondside said...

I enjoy the stories of your walks as much as I enjoy the photos of your work. We have herons here, and there's a heron rookery right outside the window of my parents' winter apartment. I don't know if we have oyster catchers. I'll have to investigate - perhaps they are known by another name here.
I think the little shell was worth it!

Debbie Nolan said...

Dear Milly - love your feathers and the sea shell is awesome. All the details are magnificent. Love how you included all the textures. I so enjoyed my visit with you. That heron is really special too. Take care and have a great day.

Kim Henkel Creations said...

What beauty you create from your beautiful nature finds. The feather sepia drawings are so beautiful, the patterns in the drawings (and real items) are so very individual and beautiful. The drawing in black and white and soft colours of the shell are also amazing. I need to go and look at the pictures again to soak up a bit more of their beauty. Thank You to your husband for putting the effort into getting the shell. Beautiful work as always.
Oh and I also love your lino cut, you make it look easy!

ellie said...

Beautiful! Well Worth the danger!! I have been itching to do some lino Printing, your feathers are stunning ! :) Ellie

Clare Wassermann said...

Lovely work and so nice to see your processes