What a week…! Firstly, I have to announce my mega exciting news that I am now ‘Trainee Falconer’ at Puxton Falconry Centre, with Gary, Claire and Lon!!! I’m so excited – not only do I photograph and paint these stunning birds of prey, but now I get to learn all about them, how to handle them and care for them! There is SO much to learn… I’ve had a lot of animals in my time, including dogs, cats, horses, cows, pigs, chickens, sheep…this is a whole new ball game.

I’ll still be doing all my Art and Photography – Falconry will take up 2 days each week which leaves plenty of time for everything else! Meeting these birds 2 years ago is what initially inspired me to pick up a paintbrush, so it feels perfect that they are becoming part of my life. It would be hard to choose between painting, photography and the birds… Fortunately, for now, I don’t have to choose, and they all feed into each other.

This week has been busy with both photography and art. As well as a school photo shoot and lots of editing, I spent an afternoon at school with my daughter’s class experimenting with water colour pencils. To my delight (NOT!!) we sketched daffodils. (My Mum said to think of them as yellow birds with green legs!!) The children worked in their sketch books to capture the curly shapes of the petals and trumpets, then worked directly on to watercolour paper using the pencils, finally blending the colours with a damp brush. The children created some beautiful paintings! I wish I’d taken some photos – I’ll try to remember when I go back next week, so I can show you.

I managed to steal a couple of hours this morning to work on some head studies of Alfonzo, THE most handsome Chilean Blue Eagle! He is a real character, and as I was getting to know him (or allowing him to get used to me!) last weekend, his expressions and quirky head positions caught my attention…
I played with these studies and used different mediums – Acrylic, watercolour then water colour pencils. I did this purely for practice. I enjoyed the watercolour most, and have yet to blend the pencil drawings with water. I’m hoping this will make them look less ‘sketchy’.

Alf, Head Studies in Acrylic
Alf, Head Studies in Watercolour
Alf, Head Studies in watercolour pencil (not blended)

Off to catch some Zzzzzzz’s now, ready for a day with the birds tomorrow!!!
Mandi 😉