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MOTTLECAH: Eucalyptus macrocarpa

This is a watercolour painting of the well known Australian eucalyptus commonly called Mottlecah and scientifically named: Eucalyptus macrocarpa. The painting has been completed using Arches 300GSM Hot Pressed Paper.

And that’s right: “NO BIRD”.

Prints will be available.

All enquiries should be sent to my email address: spikercs@gmail.com

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Using Tracing Paper as a protection while painting with Watercolours

For those of you who paint with watercolours, the disappointment of smudging wet paint or dropping a spot of paint in an area that was meant to be either unpainted or left plain will be well understood.

I remember dropping a blob of black paint on a proposed plain area of a painting of two Black Cockatoos. The drop was about 10mm diameter. I was a little taken aback by it to say the least. In that case I was able to add leaves to the composition and it went unnoticed to other people: but not for me. I was disappointed because the composition was adversely affected. For awhile I experimented with plain paper overlays but that interfered with the development of the painting.

To prevent a recurrence of that event, I now lay a sheet or part of a sheet of tracing paper over the picture. This has delivered a few benefits:

  • it enables me to be aware of where I am painting within the overall composition;
  • protects large areas of the picture from unwanted marks and smudges;
  • provides a smooth resting surface;
  • prevents skin oil from ruining the hot pressed paper surface; and very importantly,
  • protects the composition.
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Australian Birds in natural settings- the essence of Australian Bird Art

Splendid View of the Ridge Churchill Scan

Australian birds can be found in the bush, on waterways, in urban areas and around rural properties. Some birds are more recognizable for their urban predominance rather than occurring in their historically natural environment. Silver Gulls and in recent years in Western Australia- the noisy vandalising Corellas.

When it comes to creating a composition to feature a native bird, I weigh-up the various options which might best represent the natural habitat of that species of bird. Black Cockatoos dwell in Wandoo forest as do Galahs and many other parrots. And because I love the old gnarled Wandoo trees then I automatically merge the birds onto the Wandoo branches. Scarlet Robins, Western Rosellas, Willie Wagtails and 28 Parrots can be frequently found in the edges of the forest bordering along pasture land and even feeding in the pastureland. It seems to me that old fence posts are just so natural a place to find these species of birds; it seems OK therefore to place these birds on old mossy posts.

As a bird watcher I am happy to see birds in natural and semi-natural habitats. And when considering a new painting design I fail to accept that placing a bird  on a stick or on a shadow to make a quick simplistic illustration and present it as a serious painting is for me. I want more from the effort.

The challenge of creating a composition that incorporates a natural habitat for a bird to be found in (in real life) is what makes a painting worthwhile and authentic. People who view my work and acquire paintings frequently state that the authentically natural habitat or setting is what they appreciate about my paintings. That is where or when I get enormous satisfaction.

My aim is to produce work that clearly falls within the description or classification of what can be called Australian Bird Art.