Blue Cranes

Blue Cranes & Karoo Landscape

Karoo Landscape with Blue Cranes

Since May, a pair of Blue Cranes has settled on Silvermere. It is really quite unusual that they have made themselves at home here. Yesterday, while hanging out the washing, I heard their wistful calls and saw them circling high overhead. Usually we only see the occasional visiting cranes just passing through. We used to say that they were a rain omen, one of the many that farmers in our part of the karoo use to predict the rains.  I have taken a few photos of ‘our’ pair, and felt inspired to paint them again, for the first time since way back in 1995 & 1997.

Pair of Blue Cranes

Two Blue Cranes

In those days, we saw big flocks of them in the Caledon district, and several paintings followed. But, more recently I photographed a flock that we saw on a trip home from the Nieu Bethesda district. This big watercolour depicts the cranes in the landscape where I saw them.  The other 2 sketches were drawn from photos of our new resident pair of beautiful and graceful Blue Cranes.

 Blue Crane sketches

Sketching Blue Cranes

Hogsback Holiday

In April we took a short holiday to Hogsback to commemorate our 40th wedding anniversary. What a change it was compared to our dry and barren karoo. It is a wonderful jewel of forests and waterfalls and “fairies” ! It inspired these 2 forest scenes, and even a little Samango monkey sketch.  We saw so many of them in the trees around Hogsback, and even in the village itself. We stayed at beautiful Nibelheim.  Hogsback is an extraordinary place!!

Hogsback Forest.

To the Fairy Meander.

Samango monkey.

Hogsback. Swallowtail Falls

Beautiful river and falls and paths to explore through the forests of Hogsback

Swallowtail Falls.

The Amazing Bar-Tailed Godwit

Bar-tailed Godwit

First study, of the Bar-tailed Godwit

Recently I came across this delightful wader in some photos taken by a friend, Wessel Rossouw, on the SE coast of South Africa. But only after I had decided to paint a series of this bird, the Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica), did I discover what an amazing long distance traveler it is during its annual migration. Here are the links (sciencedaily) & (birdlife) of the two websites that give details of its amazing stamina for long-distance flight. It set a record in 2010, for a single non-stop flight of 11,000 kms from Alaska to New Zealand.

Bar-tailed Godwit resting

Bar-tailed Godwit resting. Study 2

         Here are the 3 studies that I  made to celebrate the achievement of this truly extraordinary bird.

Bar-tailed Godwit in flight

Bar-tailed Godwit in flight. Study 3

The Spotted Dikkop

We have a resident pair of Spotted Dikkops ( Burhinus Capensis ), that nest not far from our house. I was fortunate to capture a photo of them last year, and have since been longing to turn it into a small painting.

The Spotted Dikkop

Our resident pair of Dikkops

Salted Lambs

A little experiment with salt to achieve a different texture, on this sketch of 3 lambs.

Three Lambs

Salted Lambs