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Thursday, 30 December 2010

A NEW BOOK!!


Well I am honoured to announce the release of a fab new Book on Drawing and Painting Birds. Its excellently written by my good friend and genius Artist Tim Wooton. I was very honoured also to be asked by Tim to contribute to the volume. Anyone who has an interest in Drawing and painting wildlife and particularly birds this surely is a must have. It features input from many of the leading lights in the genre of Bird illustration and Painting and I was very pleased to have been involved. You can purchase the book from Tim and on his Blog

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Needless waste


Came across this and was appalled, what possible threat to any game or fishing lake is an osprey on Migration!!!

Friday, 19 November 2010

The Moorland Bird.


Another of my 15 min paintings although this one actually was more like 25 !! anyway here it is one of in my opinion is the quintessential Moorland birds of my childhood

Thursday, 18 November 2010

UNESCO BID ACCEPTED : FALCORY FUTURE NOW ASSURED

UNESCO Have officially recognisied FALCONRY as a world heritage pastime and ensured its world wide practice for generations to come. this is such great news for a pastime with such a rich and varied history.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Northumberland Grouse


At the end of September I was graciously invited again to a few days grouse shooting in Northumberland by my friend and client Jeremy Herman and his lovely wife Edwina. Jeremy owns two moors ,Allenheads and Muggleswick moors. this pristine estate was bought by Jeremy a few years back now but has greatly benefited by his presence. Grouse records last year were at an all time high and It is a real privilege to be invited along with a small group of Sporting Artists to Allenheads Hall every year for this spectacle. I have been to a few moors now but have never seen the numbers that these two moors hold! They also boast a very healthy population of Black game which is under severe pressure in the U.K but here they are doing very well because of the huge efforts being made by the Keeper of the estate. They also have a significantly high breeding population of waders on the moor again a testament to the efforts being done there. Here are just a few of the images I took at the two days.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Privilege club draw- here's the winners

Just done the latest privilege club prize draw- names picked by our children.Here's the winners- Katy Oliver (uk),Stuart Ritchie (UK), John & Melissa Karger (USA), Howard Pirtle (USA),Gary Freeman (UK), Crispin Worledge (UK), Jon Franklin (UK), Glynne Dunn (UK), Mike Campsie (UK), Dr. Berendsen ( Netherlands) CONGRATULATIONS! you each win ...a 2011 calendar. I will be emailing you - asking you to confirm your postal address,before sending out your prize.

Thanks - Donna

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Win an Andrew Ellis 2011 calendar


On July 31st 2010 we will be holding our next free privilege club prize draw. Ten lucky winners will each receive a copy of the new Andrew Ellis calendar for 2011, which features 12 beautiful bird of prey images. You can join the privilege club for free on our website.

Incase you don't know about the privilege club here's a little more information:

What is the Andrew Ellis Privilege club?
This is our way of saying thank-you to loyal customers and fans of Andrew Ellis' work by giving them exclusive special offers. We select a small number of people each month to receive a fantastic offer through the post. These are offers that will not be available on the website or at shows. It is free to join and membership is open to anyone worldwide. When you join, you will receive 2 of these special mailings per year. These are excusive mail order offers and cannot be redeemed via the website.You will also be entered into regular free prize draws, and kept up to date with new print releases etc.

The last draw we had took place about 2 months ago with 10 people each winning a pack of the new 8 greetings cards launched this year. We had a lot of positive feedback from the winners and hope that this draw will prove as successful.

So join the Andrew Ellis privilege club now , for your chance to win an Andrew Ellis 2011 calendar.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Evening watching Foxes


The summer nights being so light at the moment are a real blessing when viewing wildlife all those hours of daylight to observe and record wildlife. Also with a host of young animals emerging into the world that moves things up a gear too. My good friend Robin Khan gave me a call the other night and said in a cryptic way " come over to the Farm about 8ish and bring your camera and sketchbook" well my mind was spinning wondering what wildlife wonder he had in store for me ? Nightjars Maybe? or Bats as i know he has a few different species there. Well I duly took his instruction and rolled up at his door at 8pm. The light was still pretty good and what we were going to be looking at would be seen quite easily i thought. Well he took me into the house and offered me a cupa and he said we will have to wait here. Outside one of his windows is a bird feeder which was being visited by Greater spotted woodpeckers ,Nuthatches and a stream of other finches and passerines. He gave the game away though when he ducked out to put some food out on the track that runs past the window. AHHH.... Foxes. Indeed a family group have been regular visitors to Robin's hand outs for some years now he informed me. We sat and watched as two Cubs appeared then the Dog fox which Robin was surprised at since he is the most weary of them all . In total there are six cubs but only two showed and as a bonus the vixen came in as the light finally started to dim past where I could sketch effectively. A wonderful evening of fox watching.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Kingfisher Fledglings


Another two special guests of Dave’s at present are two beautiful Kingfisher fledglings. Dave had been watching a pair on the river and witnessed a rival male move into the area kill the Father of the brood and then starts pulling the young one by one from the burrow in the bank. Soon the female had mated with the new male and begun nesting further down. Up until this point she had been feeding the remaining young but then stopped. Dave found two outside the hole in a weakened state and decided to intervene and try and rehabilitate them. They are now doing well after a touch and go start. And are now starting to make diving attacks at fish placed in a deep bowl on the floor of the seclusion aviary they have been placed in. Its easy to be Angry at the Intruding male in this instance but Nature has her own very strict set of rules and some never make it. Dave is very aware that the two Kingfishers only have a slim chance of survival but if only one of that brood were to make it that would be a success. Kingfishers were hit hard this winter with the prolonged periods of freezing temperatures and snow. This may have been a contributing factor towards the demise of the original male. It would be nice to think that if either of the Kingfishers go on to survive and breed that is in some way helping the comeback of the population nationally.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Hazel the Fallow deer. Hazel the Fallow deer.

Joe with Hazel when she was first brought in


To give my wife some much needed piece , I and the kids headed over to my mates on Sunday to see Hazel. Hazel is a special friend of my children they love to see her and run around with her. Hazel is a Fallow Deer which my friend and fellow Artist -Falconer Dave Scott hand reared when she was found wondering by a main road with injuries to her legs. Dave seemed to think she got stuck in a cattle grid then got separated from her mother as the herd moved on. She now lives with Dave in a nice paddock and loves the attention from visitor like us.

Below Maisie and Joe with Hazel two years on

Thursday, 10 June 2010

15 Minute wonder


Well i thought I'd show you a little of what I've been up to on the Bird Forum . The forum is a great place for anyone nuts about birds as i am! and the wildlife art sub forum mentored by the illustrious Tim Wooton Its a place where like minded individuals post our artwork for comment and encouragement. the forum is also great for Artists as we generally lead a solitary working life. Anyway i digress! Colleen one of our group came up with a fantastic exercise to loosen the way we paint. It makes you become more instinctive about your brushwork., well that's what i found anyway! However i will let her explain so here it is the method we use, straight from Colleen.
It should be more than a sketch, because we all have our threads for sketches, notice it says Paintings in the title.....so that infers color or at least light and shade and mass, like charcoal.....

so I suggest it be all as direct as you can make it, no pre sketching for forms or outlines, except for the briefest marks for placement. The idea is to let your tool, be it brush, marker, or pastel, make the forms...... you are trying to get the essence of the thing without worrying over details. We all do this in our drawings, now take it to the next level in your favorite media. So you can see the brushstrokes and energy of the making....that is, in a way, the subject. The time pressure is the main force to drive you beyond being able to think it over, into the Yoda land of the Force, Don't think just Do.


well I had a go and found it very hard to stop at the fifteen minute mark but it was hugely freeing of over working areas. I am glad I work in acrylics as they dry very quick and this allowed a great deal of coverage and I wasn't unduly hampered by waiting for things to dry.Its been very rewarding. Because they are experimental and not finished pieces The pressure is really off other than the time constraint Its renewed my enthusiasm for field work again and is something that I will continue with.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Are you a winner of the Andrew Ellis limited privilege club draw?

This evening we drew 10 names from our list of privilege club members using a random number generator and here are the lucky winners......

Colin Asquith- UK
Bret Beede- USA
Paul Crawford -Uk
Debbie Forrest -UK
Adrian George -Uk
Peter Moralee - UK
Bruce Padbury - South Africa
Paul Perfect - UK
Lee Rush - Uk
Ian Stewart -UK

Congratulations to you all!
I've sent an email to each of you and when I receive your reply I'll get the prize out to you.

Donna

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Extinction happening again,and again


I came across this on the Bird Forum , Another example of Human interests and introducing Foreign species to another environment where they do not belong forcing the extinction of another endemic species.The Aloatra Grebe of Madagascar Lost its battle for existence in our inter fearing world


Published: 12:49PM BST 26 May 2010
Grebe from Madagascar extinct after introduction of carnivorous fish
The Alaotra grebe has been driven to extinction by the introduction of non-native carnivorous fish to lakes in the area of east Madagascar where it was found Photo: AP

The Alaotra grebe, also called the rusty grebe, had been highly vulnerable as it was found only in Lake Alaotra, eastern Madagascar, according to the Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which compiles the Red List of endangered species.

The grebe was wiped out by habitat destruction, by the introduction of a carnivorous fish called the snakehead murrel and by nylon gill-nets which accidentally caught and drowned many birds.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

New book about Dadia reserve in Greece


Just came across this from my friend and Fellow artist Psachalis Douglas.The book features Psachalis's Drawings which are superb by the way! Its all about the Dadia Reserve in Greece which is a major reserve for Raptors in the Mediterranean.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Hobbies Falco Subbuteo.

Last Friday I had the privilege of meeting up with a friend Robin Khan. Robin is a very accomplished bird watcher and has a passion for Raptors luckily for me and it was a great experience to be alongside his expert eye. Originally we had planned to go to a good spot that Robin knows of on the Somerset levels to watch the influx of Hobbies, Falco Subbuteo. These elegant small falcons come to our shores and breed here for the summer. For the last half of the year they have been wintering in Africa but now they are back and it’s always with huge expectation that I and many others like Robin are out on warm summer days hoping to see their dashing flights at emerging Dragon Flies. Unfortunately because of the low pressure weather system we had over us in the early part of May their influx into the country has been a bit sporadic and we missed the opportunity to see them in Somerset. So we headed to another little hot spot here in Devon. The RSPB own an Area of Marshes near the Exe Estuary and its one of the first stop off points for some of our Hobbies and many other summer migrants. I met up with Robin at his home and we then made the short journey to the marshes, it was already warming considerably by now and when we arrived we wasted no time in searching. We quickly spotted a falcon half way up one of the pylons that cross the marsh. We then headed down the edge of the Canal towards Turf Locks Hotel. Looking out westward across the marsh we picked out several Hobbies quite high up already hawking insects on the rising air. The wind was pushing us away from us unfortunately and we decided to walk on down towards the locks and return a bit later in the day to see if they would be at a lower level when the air cooled. There was plenty to keep me occupied. Sedge warblers sang from every reedy patch of scrub that lined the foot path. Now my warbler identification skills are a little on the rusty side and so I asked Robin for his advice which of the warblers I was hearing. In due course I was now able to tell the difference between the scratchy sounding Sedge Warbler and the explosive loud metallic notes of the skulking Cetti’s Warbler and the much more subtle Reed Warbler. Not too long after we were to hear the call of the warblers nemesis the Cuckoo! Although we never saw him. Shelduck pairs passed by us heading into the Marsh pools where they fed alongside Canada geese and a host of Gulls de salting themselves in the fresh water. Herons drifted in and the peace was disturbed by piping calls of pairs of Oyster catchers heading down the canal towards the rich mud flats at the Turf Locks. As the heat started to eat into us we decided to take a break at the turf locks hotel and have a drink and take a look out across the estuary. Whilst there we saw, a rather Late Whimbrel feeding on his own and small groups of Dunlin in breeding plumage were feeding alongside Ringed Plovers. An Egret fished the shallows out in front near the old boat wreck that has been there for years slowly dissolving into the silt of the estuary. As the time past we headed back down the path way hoping to see yet more Hobbies. The sedge and Cetti’s continued to chorus from the margins of reeds and Bramble. On the y way we chatted of the Peregrines recovery. And how Robin in 1971 the year I was born could only find one tiercel on the whole of the Devon coast! What a turn around its been. We soon were back at the small car park and decided to move over to the west side of the reserve as the wind was blowing the insects that way and Robin felt that we would have more luck seeing the hobbies over there. Sure enough we got some good views of them coming our way and of a Peregrine sat in the Pylon that we originally saw a Falcon. Chances are it was him all Along! Robin had seen this falcon take a young Canada goose, gosling a few days earlier and take it to the same pylon to eat it! The Hobbies unfortunately never really gave us the views that we wanted and we decided after a while to head home. Robin Felt that on days like this if they can stock up early of food they will carry on their migration. Hopefully we will see more through the summer and then when they gather to leave our shores for the epic journey south to Africa.

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