New purchases

I really enjoyed looking through my previous paintings and reacquainting myself with the birds – some of which I painted a couple of years ago – and it was good to remind myself of why and how I painted them.

Galvanised by this I took a virtual trip to Jackson’s to inspire me. Lockdown has been fantastic for properly getting to know my “patch” (even though I have lived here for 12 years!) but I miss browsing in art shops, as I used to pop in to Cornelissen new the British Museum, or Stevenson‘s in the city if I was getting framing done. There’s something about all those materials which I find very inspiring, even if I just came out with a new pencil. I really need to get some of my Linocut prints framed as they look so much better when properly displayed. Here are my Jackson’s purchases:

I bought some birch ply panels for woodcut carving as I’ve never tried using proper wood to make prints. I bought a Lino sheet which is stuck on to some wood so I hope it will be a bit more robust than my other sheets. I got the traditional grey Lino, as although the soft-cut sheets are really easy to carve (as the name suggests) I found it less enjoyable to do – a bit ‘white sliced bread’ if that makes sense. I got a large pad of Not watercolour paper so I can paint some more birds, and a little pack of Khadi paper as it’s so gorgeous to use with gouache.

My pup didn’t quite know what to make of the packaging peanuts:

I enjoy visiting charity shops and second-hand bookshops too and seeing if I can find any bird books. Ebay and Wordery are of course stepping in to that role at the moment, but again, there is the thrill of finding a bargain, and being able to judge the size and condition which has caught me out previously with online shopping!

I found this book which is a 1985 reprint of a 1964 book, and it has beautiful illustrations by Donald Watson. I read the whole book with field guides – including the introduction and all the peripheral bits around the actual bird ID plates, and I always learn something.

I have seen a woodcock a number of times in the past week in one of the fields where I walk – I’m not sure if it’s the same one but it is perfect habitat: a scrubby wet field bordered by woodland with some arable to one side. Cock pheasants are strutting their stuff while the black-headed gulls wheel overhead, dropping to pick up worms as they see them. Here is my linocut print of a male pheasant:

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