..is usually caused by a trouble maker, likely to be something like the Jay. This typical British woodland bird can be a bit of a thug when it comes to dealings with it’s fellow residents. The commotion and squawking accompanied by shaken falling leaves is not easy to miss, in the furore of fluttering feathers you may catch the indisputable sight of the Jay. It tries to raid their nests and they are not at all happy about it! Easy to recognise with its buff underparts and azure blue marking of its upper wings, its headgear is equally brazen with white and black marking.
It’s one of the our crow family and although not usually known for being shy with other birds they are with humans, they don’t like to hang around long in one place and will be off once they spot you, making its distinctive raucous call as it goes. Bully they may be, but beautiful as well, now thats a combination!
I enjoyed making this bird with my usual papier mache body and individually torn paper feathers. I like to get a more varied colour palette out and loved doing the striking black and white markings on it’s head, and the unusual eyes. I added a bit of extra interest with the bits of tree bits. The hand finished rustic frames I use seem to complement the theme.
This picture measures 9 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ so is one of my larger pieces and makes quite an eye catching bird artwork.
Dave has luckily managed to get a few pictures of this bird over the years, and here is one for you to enjoy.
Who can admit to not getting a little heart flutter and smile, when a lovely little Jenny Wren, starts frantically darting about on the garden wall in front of you?
This little brown bundle will be intently hunting for tasty insects in the moss and crevices amongst the stones. Their pointy little beak expertly designed for the job in hand of removing spiders from the webs, so carefully constructed. Usually preferring to stay almost hidden in the undergrowth beneath well grown hedges, it’s the movement that gives it away…
All of a sudden a few leaves are being thrown about a few inches off the earthen floor, something is going in, then out of the corner or your eye you think you have spotted a little brown field mouse, busy scurrying about its daily business. Then you catch sight of it again briefly, and you see a little tail sticking up out of the back end of it. After straining your eyes to follow all the action you realise it is no mouse, it is our little manic Wren.
It also has a powerful voice that comes out of that little body, usually one of the earliest starters on bright spring mornings. This is not a bird to be ignored.
I have done a papier mache Wren before but I think this one is the best so far. When you see pictures of them close up, you suddenly become aware of all the different markings there are on their plumage that you simply cannot normally pick up on, as they simply damn don’t stay still long enough!
So this was an ideal opportunity to show off the real beauty of one of out favourite little garden birds. The paper was chosen and torn into little ‘feathers’ as usual (very little on this occasion). But it was finished off with a little more touching up of paint than usual to highlight all the subtle details. A few people visiting my studio have said they thought it was a real bird and can’t believe it’s all made out of paper, I think I will take that as a compliment.
It will get a few more admirers this weekend as we have an open weekend at Higherford Mill, Barrowford. 10th & 11th December 2016 10-4pm. lots of Artists will be opening their studios so will be lots to see and buy. I’m on the first floor at the front of the mill if you fancy visiting.
How many of you in Britain have seen this bird of prey? If you have you are a lucky bunch as unfortunately it’s not often sighted nowadays. It is a shy bird and prefers to hunt up on the high moorland and mountainous areas. It is our smallest falcon but more than makes up for its size with courage, and effective hunting skills, focussing mainly on smaller birds.
This is my first attempt at a bird of prey, apart from the Little owl and it was a bit more of a challenge for me. As usual all paper with a paper mache modelled body, paper feathers, and metal wire & paper coated talons all finished off with painted details.
The distinctive markings on its chest and other feathers require an accurate attention to detail whilst finishing the piece off with paint to give it it’s distinctive look. The beak is curved and designed to rip flesh to shreds, and those yellow talons are impressive on a relatively small bird and more than up to the job in hand. The large eyes on the side of its head are designed for almost 360 degree radius vision and miss little. A keen mean killing machine!
When I finished and mounted it, Dave said he had a double take at it when he came in and said it had real impact. I think that is a compliment.
Of course you can check out my other birds by clicking on the Etsy shop link at the top of the page.
Let me know what you think of it and give me your feedback please.
The diminutive Goldcrest
Here is my latest bird the Goldcrest, as usual created out of papermache and recycled paper. I loved working on the small detail on the head and wings of this bird, finally bringing it alive with a touch of paint to create the white light in the eye. The paint effect on the frame hopefully highlights and complements the colours of the bird. The frame measures 5” x 5”.
If you have been lucky enough to spot one of these you will understand the excitement generated by this smallest European bird.
Usually identified before sighting by its high pitched song, befitting of it’s diminutive size. Then a flitting from branch to branch activity and a rustling of leaves, alerts your senses even more.
A good pair of binoculars will be of much benefit in this particular instance, as it takes a while to concentrate your eye on this miniature blaze of green and gold colour. Hopefully you will be rewarded with spotting the distinctive orange/yellow crown which can fluff up when displaying to a mate.
There is a similar bird called the Firecrest which has an even more brightly coloured crown than the Goldcrest, but in the UK you are more likely to see the latter. It favours coniferous woods for breeding but wanders widely in winter.
So listen out for a high pitched song next time you are walking in coniferous woods and get your eyes tuned in for a special treat.
It’s been a while I know, but I finally got around to trying a new recycled paper idea that has been buzzing around my head for a while. I love the 3d feel to wall art, so this picture was no exception.
The Little Owl has been carefully cut out of the board to reveal the rolled paper tubes underneath it. It took me a while to decide which bird to start with, but as this is my favourite little bird of prey…. Although that is probably a loose term for this cutie as it seems to prefer insects to anything much larger, but it will take small mammals. With its fluffy claws helping to define it as an owl I thought this was an ideal one to start with.
All my bird pictures have a natural look to them and with the hand finished aged frame, this is no exception. The paper is from recycled magazines, rolled up individually into tubes. I sort of tried to pick complementary colours for the tubes in this one but I don’t think it really matters and I will use a general mix next time. All the paper has been varnished at least twice to protect and strengthen it and on the front the cut out board has relevant owl txt on it. The back of the picture has a copy of an attractive sketch of a Little Owl so you get the full feel for this feisty little bird.
I’m quite happy with it and I like the contemporary but subtle look of it. The open frame invites you to peer deeply inside the box to see how much of the paper tubes you can see.
Visit our Etsy shop link at the top of the page to view my other bird art.
I have two more pieces in the early stages of work, so hopefully in the next week or two, more birds should be fluttering onto this page!
A few weeks ago I was approached by an American lady asking if I could make her the American version of the UK Kingfisher. The Belted Kingfisher is a similar shape to ours but with slate grey markings on its back rather than the azure blue, and a white front and white band around its neck., the name I think must come from the blue or white band around its neck. Other than the different apparent markings, behaviour and habitat of the bird seems pretty similiar to the UK one, living next to rivers and lakes.
I was happy to oblige as I love creating new birds, and the Belted Kingfisher is a stunning one. I chose to make the female, as it is more colourful than the male with rusty markings on its under chest. As I get a lot of viewers to my Etsy shop I wondered if it may be wise to add more US birds in the future, apparently a lot of states have a bird as their emblem.
Although I love the birds I see locally, some of the US birds are truly awesome, the colours are so much more colourful than ours generally I think. But we have enough here to keep me busy, I want to do the green and great spotted woodpeckers next which have lovely plumage.
Anyway all went well, and the Belted Kingfisher is winging its way across the Atlantic Ocean probably as we speak. I will be taking further orders on it in the future, it takes a couple of weeks to make, on and off.
Here are some pics of work in progress and the finished item.
The finished article..
Bird Egg Coasters
I have been busy dreaming up new items to add to my Etsy shop, and realised that a lot of people may not be able to justify buying Art for arts sake.
I know how they feel as I love to buy some beautiful piece of Art work that also has a practical purpose, or useable art.
So I have been adding pieces that feature photographic copies of my originals that can be used for something other that just to be admired, hanging on the wall. David already has a range of mugs with his beautiful images of birds on them, the flying Barn Owl being particularly popular.
New coffee mugs.
I decided what is good for the goose is good for the gander so to speak. So I have done a few coffee mugs and coasters featuring some of my birds, I’m quite pleased the way they have turned out actually. I think the small garden birds look really good!
These are ideal as gifts for a house warming gift or nature lover and completely original. Of course they are also dishwasher proof.
So now you can bring the wildlife into your kitchen every time you enjoy your favourite cuppa. These are £12 + p&p from my online shop. Please click on my Etsy shop at the top of the page to order yours for Xmas.
Happy nature watching!