Scottish and Parrot Crossbills, I have not seen either species yet, but familiarity with Common Crossbill helps to get the character and posture for similar species.
The European Breeding Bird Atlas
Several months ago I was contacted about the posibility of illustrating some species for an ambitious project to map all the European Breeding Birds. It was a great opportunity to work in such a publication and I was delighted to be a part of it. I was a little slow to respond and was very fortunate that some of the species I sent forward as examples of work were still free. After a busy few months and with the move to Donegal complete, I can now finally sit down and complete my list of subjects.
I was very lucky to have Europes largest colony of Roseate Tern’s on my doorstep in Dublin. These illustrations were submitted as an example of work but the species was already booked by another artist. I can’t wait to see how others take on the project.
I am really enjoying the challenge of illustrating some species I have never seen before, and others which I have only seen once or twice. With White-faced and Band-rumped Storm Petrels among my list, sketching a nice pose for a bird prospecting a nest site has been more difficult than I thought. My familiarity with the family is almost entirely at sea, and every attempt to illustrate a bird scuttling on the ground has been comical!
Corncrake are one of my favourite birds, and though declining steadily in Ireland, they can still be found in a few locations. Each year I make a special effort to see them and I have spent countless hours enjoying them in the field and working on paintings and illustrations. It was a real privilage to hear that one of my more recent illustrations might be used for such an iconic species.
I am hopeful that this illustration will be used in the final draft of the book.
I still have not settled on the final illustration or pose for several of the species, and I am contemplating adding some more background to work already completed. I often struggle to maintain a consistancy in my style, that I am still trying to find a way of painting that I am confident and comfortable with. Each time that I pick up the paint brush I usually have something in mind that is totaly different to how it ends up. I am however hoping that each of the illustrations maintain a certain character and that each one can be easily picked out as my work. Hopefully focussing on a project without interuption for the first time in a few years will help.