Greetings. I hope that you have been well and safe in this unpredictable world.
I’ve been venturing out of my comfort zone and have tried to paint a new bird, magpies. They have been voted Australians’ second favourite bird. There are many who have regular magpie visitors that arrive for their feed or have them as full-time pets.
When I was walking in my neighbourhood, I spotted a magpie sitting on a fence. I started photographing it and taking a step closer after each photo.
It was very obliging. It posed to the side, back and frontwards.
Soon I was about a metre and a half in front of it and it was looking straight at me with piercing eyes. A sudden nervous feeling arose as I considered, “yikes, what if it flies straight into my face” but it didn’t, it continued to be placid and cooperative.
This encounter gave me some great magpie resource photos for future paintings.
Unfortunately, this seemingly gentle bird is not loved by all mainly due to dive-bombing people during nesting season. There’s also the Collingwood Magpies, an Australian Football League (AFL) team that is huge in Australia that people seem to either love or hate. Collingwood is rarely chosen as a second favourite team. So, unfortunately, the poor magpie has a strong association link with this team, through no fault of its own.
Sam Bloom wrote a story about an odd little Magpie that saved her family. The photos are beautiful and heart melting, and this has definitely helped to endear more people to magpies.
I hope that you and your family are well, and that the birds around you give you a moment of joy.
On Wombat Wednesday, I painted “Piggyback”. This is a whimsical scene of a wombat piggybacking on a Tasmanian Thylacine. With the current world scene, I like letting my imagination go to heart-warming escapism, a dreamy and calming place, where natural foes are friends, enjoy each other’s company and help one another.
I love drawing and painting strutting emus. You can let your imagination go and draw all sorts of imaginary scenes, like this one of an emu and tiger going for a walk in happier times. Unfortunately, both the Tasmanian emu and thylacine suffered the same fate.
There are some rare, extremely critically threatened fish that look like they are walking on their hands that live in the Derwent River in Tasmania (I can see the river from my house). There are 14 species of the Tasmanian Handfish. They are tiny and a little grumpy looking but awfully cute at the same time.
I have never painted magpies, except for tiny ones, so I needed to push myself to step out of my comfort zone and take the risk. Sometimes that is harder than the actual painting of a new subject! I drew three different pictures of magpies to better my odds of achieving at least one success.
Here’s the first Australian Magpie I painted:
Then I moved onto the second one:
There’s a little more work to be done on the second one but I moved onto to painting the chain link fence. I’m not sure if that is the best choice -composition wise- but I went ahead because I wanted to keep moving with the painting. Sometimes I can spend too much time trying to make painting-decisions. It would be nice to have on-call your own personal mentor to discuss and get second opinions, but this is a luxury I don’t have (and frankly, I don’t know how many others would have this luxury??).
Hopefully, I’ll be able to show you the finished product soon. In the meantime, take good care of yourselves.