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City Gardens and the Dawn Chorus

For the March issue of Brighton’s Preston Pages magazine my piece, Dawn Chorus in the City was featured along with the illustration below:

Dawn Chorus
Dawn Chorus
Dawn Chorus in the City Article
Dawn Chorus in the City – article in the Preston Pages

The Preston Pages’ Dawn Chorus in the City was a shorter version of a piece that was originally published on the City Creatures blog and which I’ve now added to my other nature writing website, From the Fields and Woods. I wrote the piece last year and there have since been changes to the garden my flat looks down on.

In January our next door neighbour had some of our trees cut because she wants more light in her garden. i felt very sad about this and requested that as little as possible be cut so the garden was still a wildlife haven. Below you can see photos of before the cut and after. I’m used to it now but the trend in cutting down city trees saddens me whether they are in the street or in peoples’ gardens. I’m all in favour of a bit of wilful neglect so wildlife can flourish in peace – and I mean birds, foxes, badgers or whatever (I draw the line at rats).

View from my balcony
View from my balcony in winter
Garden after tree cutting
Garden after tree cutting

It’s not so bad!

Anyway, I’d like to create a Dawn Chorus artwork beyond an illustration. So far I’ve created a candle lantern:

Dawn Chorus Lantern
Dawn Chorus Lantern

Here is an MP3 recording of the dawn chorus from my balcony:

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Fox Wood Altered Book

I still have a thing about foxes and have been watching them wandering around the gardens next door in the snow. I hope they find enough to eat.

Last year I took photos of the fox family sunbathing in the garden next door. One of the photos was taken in January, it must have been warm.

Fox in the Garden

Fox in the Garden

Two Sleeping Foxes

These are the inspiration for my fox ‘altered books’ except I draw them in a woodland clearing. I have yet to do an urban fox.

I’ve just created a pocket ‘altered’ notebook, Fox Wood, featuring a fox among some ivy covered trees and a couple of rabbits hidden in the pages. It’s now for sale in my Etsy shop

Fox Wood Altered Book

For another ‘Fox’ post see here.

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Tawny Owl Art

There’s an owl theme going on at the moment. First I’ve been out looking for urban owls recently to write about for my book. So far, no luck, but I’ll keep trying.

Then I discovered a lovely post about my altered books on the website My Owl Barn and was very pleased to sell my Owl Altered book on Etsy:

Owl Altered Book
Owl Altered Book (click on image to enlarge).

Yesterday I completed a commissioned Owl at Dusk Box Frame, similar to the one featured below:

Owl at Dusk Boxframe
Owl at Dusk Boxframe

With the box frame I decided to hide a poem, Nature by Mary Oliver, written on parchment paper at the back of the box frame behind the final picture. I like the idea of hiding messages and hidden art for anyone who can’t resist opening up the back of the picture.

Below are some images of the box frame process including the back page of the box frame. From the front all you can see of this layer is a bit of sky and moon, but it’s a complete picture that features more trees and a badger.

Owl Box Frame in Process
Owl Box Frame in Process
Nature Poem by Mary Oliver
Nature Poem by Mary Oliver
Back Picture of Boxframe
Back Picture of Boxframe

Here is another tawny owl picture that I might make into a card:

Owl Mixed Media
Owl Mixed Media
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A Song at Dusk

Pearlescent and moon-painted, dusk is falling. In a corner of the park a male blackbird perches in the naked branches of a sycamore tree, yellow bill, eye a ring of gold. He flicks his tail and starts to sing an enquiring, fluty song. Listen…

Preston Pages - A Song at Dusk
Preston Pages – A Song at Dusk

I’m very pleased to have a second piece of writing, A Song at Dusk, along with a picture in February’s issue of Preston Pages, one of Brighton’s free magazines :)

Blackbirds at Dusk
Blackbirds at Dusk

The original A4 illustration above is available to buy, unmounted, mounted, framed or unframed. Contact me if you’re interested.

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Dusk Night Dawn T-Shirt

At the beginning of the year I decided to design some new t-shirts. Finally I’m getting round to it.

My first new design is Dusk Night Dawn. I’m always drawing deer and this time I thought I’d add the words Dusk Night Dawn (the title of my book!), as I really like these times of day.

Dusk Night Dawn T-shirt
Dusk Night Dawn T-shirt
Dusk Night Dawn T-Shirt
Dusk Night Dawn T-Shirt

I wanted to reflect the moon in the shape of the silhouetted deer and trees. It’s now up in my Teemill online shop here.

There is another deer t-shirt in my collection, Deer Tree t-shirt:

Deer Heart Tree
Deer Heart Tree T-Shirt Design

Other t-shirts in my shop include a special Great Crested Newt T-shirt favoured by ecologists.

I’ve been told there is free shipping this weekend…just in case you’re tempted :)

If you have design requests, just drop me a note and I’ll see what I can come up with.

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An Interesting Street Find

People often leave furniture and bits and bobs in our street so one evening late last year I went out in search of some wood to make a shelter for the pigeon that had adopted us. The pigeon, who we named Beaky, had been sitting day and night in the corner of our balcony getting very wet.

Beaky
Beaky at the window in summer.

I didn’t find anything suitable for Beaky but I did find a small bureau standing in front of a house with a notice on it saying “Free. Please Take.”

I phoned Kevin who came up with the car and we took it home. Here it is:

New Bureau
New Bureau

Now I have a new space to write and draw in among the plants. It’s become a special corner of the living room where I keep my wildlife treasures – feathers, eggshells etc, my art and writing bits and pieces all lit by a little paper star light my sister gave me for Christmas :)

My Creative Corner
My creative corner among the plants.

It’s amazing what you can find in the street!

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Papercut Sepia Cards

I’ve been making papercut cards. There have been a few birthdays this month so it’s been good to make cards instead of buying them or using one of my printed cards.

First I made some of my greetings card images sepia in photoshop and printed them out, two of each.

Sepia Printouts
Sepia Printouts

I cut out the images and stuck them on to a folded pieces of white card, one outside and the other inside.

Sepia Campfire Card Uncut
Sepia Campfire Card Uncut

On the campfire card I cut out areas between the trees on the top layer creating a layered sepia card of a woodland campfire.

Sepia Campfire Papercut Card
Sepia Campfire Papercut Card

I played around with some of my other designs.

Star Goddess Sepia Card
Star Goddess Sepia Card – a composite of Star Goddess and Anteater Dreaming.

The glued image can snag a bit when cutting which doesn’t happen when I cut my altered books and box frames which may be because this card is quite thin. I’ll find a way of clean cutting them and try a few other things out soon.

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