Let me introduce myself.
My name is Steve Kershaw and I live in Hertfordshire in southern England. I earn my living as a musician and guitar teacher but my passion is wildlife and especially wildlife art. I have been painting and drawing since I was about 3 years old and I love the medium of watercolor. I even manage to sell some of my work but mostly I give it away to friends and family. I would dearly love to be able to make a living from art but for the time being it remains my dream?
I heard about this 'Blog' or 'Blogging' that seems to be very popular at the moment and so I thought I would give it a go? I hope you find it interesting enough to read? and I hope you enjoy the paintings and sketches as well?
A bunch of Cherries!
I have a cherry tree in my garden that I planted over 20 years ago and it now stands 25 feet tall. We always have a good crop of fruit and any that we don't use are usually left to the birds.
They have been much sort after recently by many feathered visitors and all through July and August a family of Jays have been entertaining us daily. I have observed their acrobatic antics and comical dance moves with great interest and I have shared many intimate moments while discretely sketching and painting their behavior.
Other species have been recorded with pencil, paint and camera including a party of four Blackcaps, up to 7 Blackbirds, several Song Thrushes and a Garden Warbler, all in the garden at the same time!
As the fruit ferments it attracts butterflies, hoverflies, wasps and other insects and I saw a Jay catch a wasp, wipe it on a branch to discharge the sting and then proceed to swallow it! A male Blackcap also did this with great relish!
Woodpigeons swallow the cherries whole, stone and all and then roost with fat bellies and bulging crops. Robin, Dunnock and Wren all join the feast although they tend to skulk in the herbage beneath the the canopy.
Amixed flock of tits dart from branch to branch, chattering ceaselessly, snapping up insects as they go. They scatter in all directions as a Magpie crashes the party and rattles off a raucous curse, tail cocked and eyes wide! It grabs a chunk of bread from the birdtable and exits the rear as swiftly as it arrived. Almost at the same moment an alarm call alerts the host to the ominous presence of a Sparrowhawk passing overhead and as it glides effortlessly by, the garden falls silent! The spell is broken and I find myself alone once more!
Some of the sketches and paintings from my observations in my garden during August.
The weather was variable and mixed to say the least and in the worst of the rain I had to finish the watercolours indoors!
I noticed that the Jays were partial to opening their wings and spreading their feathers out in a very exagerated way and this made for some very contorted shapes! Very interesting to watch and challenging to draw! I came to the conclusion that because the fallen Cherries were infested with Ants, this instigated behaviour known as 'anting'.