Tuesday 19 May 2020

Leo du Feu - New YouTube Channel! - film - sketching from your window

Usually I take a sketchbook wherever I go. As we're all going a lot less just now let's try sketching from our windows at home.

I've set up a YouTube Channel. In this first upload I I show pencils and pens (expensive artist drawing pens and cheap biros) on paper. Use any materials you want though. The back or inside of envelopes and the inside of food packets are a good supply of free stuff to draw on.
The artists I mention are Winifred Nicholson and Sylvia Wishart. Look at their window paintings. My Art Ideas! - Window Views blog post shows their work and mine and others and has various ideas to try. The book I recommend is Alwyn Crawshaw's Learn To Sketch in the Collins Learn To Paint series. Readily available secondhand on Abebooks. 

Monday 11 May 2020

wildlife garden - swift nest boxes

Swifts are back over and in our town the past few days. Flying low along our street as they do every year. I suspect they used to nest in a nearby tall old school building. It was renovated a few years ago and sadly I suspect the cavities they'd have used for nesting are now sealed, I didn't get my request for swift boxes to the Council on time. 

This weekend we put up two new boxes on our house - https://shopping.rspb.org.uk/garden-bird-nest-boxes/rspb-swift-nest-box.html
Swifts need our help, more and more under-eave nest sites are lost each year to renovations and demolitions. New-builds rarely allow space. Consider putting up a few boxes, bought online (loads of models available) or made at home using online templates. Take care if you put boxes up yourself rather than asking a roofer to do it. Third paragraph here links to a really good ladder safety article -
May seem obvious and common sense but I found it made me act more safely than I otherwise would have known how.
And if you're having building work done use it as a brilliant opportunity to help nature by including some built-in boxes (not just swifts but martins, swallows, house sparrows, starlings, jackdaws, bats... Take your pick! Try them all!) 
Keep asking your local Council and housing developers to include swift (and other) boxes in their developments. You could greatly help an incredible don't-touch-land-for-a-year species. Let's make sure our grandchildren are still able to delight at the return of swifts when they reach our age.
Our other swift box is this rather lovely combined double nest & bat box - https://www.schwegler-natur.de/portfolio_1408366639/mauersegler-fledermaushaus-1mf/?lang=enReally heavy, installed by a stonemason.
Fingers crossed they find us this year.

Tons of swift resources online. A few here:

- swiftcam! (baby swifts soon!!!) - https://oumnh.ox.ac.uk/swifts-in-the-tower-0

Monday 4 May 2020

Art Idea - an artwork on a found background

Hens in the Den
Samantha Cheevers, 
Mixed Media and Collage, 18x23cm  

Samantha was the winner of the Art in Healthcare prize at the Royal Scottish Academy New Contemporaries exhibition 2019. 
Six works are in the Art in Healthcare Collection - https://www.artinhealthcare.org.uk/collection-results.php?artist=2021  

I love this piece by Samantha Cheevers. Looking closely I can see the top half is something like a piece of old embossed wallpaper. The bottom section is painted then glued on top of the wallpaper.

Make your own:
Have a look around the house or garden for something of an interesting colour or texture. A newspaper, Easter egg foil, a piece of tree bark (found already fallen, not peeled from a trunk).

You've found your background!

Now find a drawing / painting / collage / photo you've already made, or make a new one. 

Cut it out:

And stick on top of your found background:

pencil & watercolour on palette background

acrylic rocks on marbled background

acrylic rocks on paper place-mat background

pencil & watercolour coot on marbled background

acrylic trees on foil background

acrylic trees on paper place-mat background

acrylic rocks on basking shark!
(from Scottish Wildlife Trust magazine)