Intelligent flight

Intelligent flight

art, painting
Somewhat depressingly, it's been more than four years since I last did a painting - a symptom of the pressures on my time, no doubt. Anyway, I treated myself to a self-indulgent chunk of time to do this painting. For quite a while now I've had an idea in my mind for a series of pictures based on birds of the crow family and so now I've made a start. I find the crow family fascinating, not least because they are deemed to be highly intelligent, especially carrion crows and ravens. I did this image of a raven with the aim of trying to convey something of its intelligence - hence the painting's title of 'Intelligent Flight'. The slightly cocked head and the direct stare combine to give a sense…
Read More
Inky plumage

Inky plumage

art, drawing
These are ink and wash drawings of a rook and an owl from my small sketchbook. They were drawn with a fountain pen and then washed over with a brush dipped in water. I'm intrigued by birds of the crow family and one day I'd like to do a series of detailed drawings or paintings of these intelligent birds. As for owls...I was once advised by specialist bird of prey breeder and falconer that they are nowhere near as wise as legend makes them out. That said, there is something very compelling about them and I find them fascinating.
Read More
And yet more fungi…

And yet more fungi…

fungi
And the fungi keep on coming...The first image is of a Death Cap. Aptly named, anyone eating one of these things is pretty much guaranteed to find themselves with a pressing appointment with the hereafter...
Read More
More fungi

More fungi

fungi
This is a fantastic time of year for fungi. They can turn up in the oddest of places too. I recently came across some shaggy inkcaps that were growing in small gravel-filled gap between a paved pathway and a concrete wall. However, these fungi, above, were found in more typical surroundings. Most of these here were in found in woods in Oxfordshire, while the ink caps were found on a lawn adjacent to Coventry Cathedral. I must get round to identifying them...
Read More
A jewel of a museum

A jewel of a museum

history
I took some students to the Museum of Jewellery in Birmingham's jewellery quarter. It is an amazing place. Having been in the business of manufacturing jewellery for nearly a hundred years, it finally closed its doors as it stood on its last working day in the mid 1980s. It's as though the workers have just popped out for a moment. There's even jars of jam and Marmite sitting undisturbed on a cupboard in the office. It's a remarkably atmospheric place and there is something to fascinate the eye and mind at every turn. In the electroplating alchove, where lethal chemicals are used as part of the plating process, there is a kettle and tea making facitlities sitting alongside open containers of acids. Apparently, the woman who worked in this place…
Read More
Oxfordshire in autumn

Oxfordshire in autumn

landscape, photography
An autumn walk in Oxfordshire. The trees have not yet reached their colourful peak of golds and reds. The weather can be very changeable, with dull greys skies suddenly turning blue. The rainbow picture shows a rapidly moving heavy shower crossing across a clear sky. Within minutes it had come and gone. The top-right picture is a very grainy image of a deer feeding in a field of tall grass. It had seen me and stood motionless for several minutes as we watched each other silently. As with almost all the photographs in this blog, they were taken on mobile phones. While I'm often amazed at the sheer quality of modern smartphone cameras, their limitations do show in subjects like the deer picture, which I could only get by using…
Read More