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Leaving to a new Blog

December 27, 2011

Just to let you know that I have made a change in the direction of my art career. I have gone over to the “dark side “as a result of an artistic “epiphany.” I have become “modern”  in my subject matter, and  ” Molecules of Emotion” is my new blogging home. I hope my friends here will continue to follow my career as an artist and thanks again for all your comments and support.

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Bird painting collection sold for £3,800,000…Thorburn’s Birds.

July 15, 2011

Thorburn’s Bird Paintings Hit Record Prices

Archibald Thorburn was an inspiration for me as a youngster, in fact, I saved for weeks to buy one of his books (The Illustrated Thorburn’s Birds) The sale of his works was conducted by Bonhams of New Bond street, London. If you have serious money to spend then this London street has some of top pueveyors of high class fashion and jewellery as well as fine art paintings for you to open your wallet. But back to the paintings…

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Peacock and Peacock Butterfly

Archibald Thorburn (British, 1860-1935)
87.5 xm 111cm (34 7/16 x 43 11/16in). £252,000.

Archibald Thorburn (1860-1935)

Thorburn is considered to be one of the top ten of  bird illustrators in the UK. Hugh Gladstone wrote in Thorburn’s obituary …I remember the whole as a riot of colour…both magnificent and accurate. Thorburn later recalled how he had nightmares of endlessly painting the eyes on the Peacock tail feathers.

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Danger aloft – Ptarmigan
watercolour and bodycolour
52.5 x 75cm (20 11/16 x 29 1/2in) sold for £156,000.

‘High amid the mists clinging to a hillside within the Forest of Gaick in Inverness-shire, a covey of ptarmigan feeds leisurely yet alert. A small herd of red deer have reached the shoulder of the hill in their restless, never-ending quest for food. A single stag has lagged behind, possibly old or sick, and saunters down from the summit to rejoin the others. Suddenly, out of the mists boiling up from the depths of the corrie, a golden eagle appears and the ptarmigan instantly crouch and ‘freeze’, their autumnal plumage blending to perfection with the boulders and herbage of this high place. They squat, motionless, trusting in their camouflage for survival, waiting for the danger to pass. The deer, also startled by the abrupt apparition of the eagle, stand and stare, mistrusting the huge bird gliding and soaring on outstretched wings above the ridge’Winter Woodcock painting by Archibald Thorburn, Archibald Thorburn wildlife artist, Archibald Thorburn paintings for sale,These are just a few from Thorburn’s collection, for me I used it along side my Observer book of Birds to gain knowledge…there wasnt any computers when I started my interest in birds…I had to rely on the artists observational and technical skills.

Make a Start with Art…Draw a Chaffinch…Free book.

June 14, 2011

Make a Start with Art

“Make a Start with Art”, is my new guide for aspiring bird artists. This free book is aimed primarily at beginners, it is a step by step “how to draw a Chaffinch” e-book. I have tried to make it easy, but you will have to be the judge to see if I have succeeded.

Why Should You Get this Guide?

  • Because Roger has worked hard to make it!
  • Your artistic life may get much easier.
  • Because everyone’s doing it; and  it’s cool to draw.
  • Because its easy to follow.
  •  A good result in a couple of hours.
  • Amaze your friends with your new skills.

I’m sure there are many more reasons as to why you should use this free e-book. Also, I have several other books in the making which you will find useful and they will compliment and support this first book.

Make a Start with Art

An Art Challenge

If you take up the challenge to draw a bird from “Make a Start with Art,” I would really like to see the results of your endeavours. You will find my contact details in the book. I will make a page here for you to show everyone what you have done. This will be a safe and supportive page, with no negative feedback, only positive support for you and your art. Are you up for it?

Home Schooled?

I am a strong advocate of home schooling, having spent several years schooling my youngest daughter, I can empathise with the work that is required. This book will be useful and appropriate to your children with their “art curriculum”. My niece has just made her first steps into home education and I hope this book will entice her to take up her pencils. I don’t wish to put a recommended age to these books, but 10 years to adult should be about right. It depends on the passion and individual as to its suitability. Above all have fun.

More Books.

I have two additional books in production at the moment and you will find them on the “Make a Start with Art” tab at the top of my blog when they are available.

Gallery of Art

I have set a challenge for you to complete the drawing of the Chaffinch, and I will make a Gallery for you to display your work. The details are on the “Make a Start with Art” page and in the book.

Should wildlife art look like photography?

June 3, 2011

This is an interesting question and I am sure the answer boils down to ones personal preference. That said, a recent article by Michael McCarthy of the Independent newspaper asked this question of Harriet Mead the President of the Society of Wildlife Artists. It is Harriet’s decision not to use the normal address for the show, i.e. “The 47th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists” instead she has called it “The Living Eye.”

Michael McCarthy  asked Harriet why she had renamed the exhibition, and she said she wanted to encourage a wider audience who perhaps had misconceptions about “wildlife art” – people, she said, “who think that the gallery will be full of clichéd photo-realist paintings of the Big Five”. (Africa’s tourist attractions: lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo). She said she had nothing against photo-realism as such – she instanced the English bird artist Chris Rose, who might be described as a photo-realist, as “an amazing painter” – but, she said, “It’s just that a certain audience measures the work of art by its relationship to reality and photography, and the closer it is, the better it is. There’s a certain kind of audience that rates work by how much time they think the artist has spent on it.” What Harriet wanted to see, she said, was “stunning work that just happens to have the natural world as its inspiration.”

Chris Rose wildlife artist and bird illustrator,bird art, painting of a bird by Chris Rose

Chris Rose-Bird Artist

With such comments from Harriet, do you think there will be a real change in the minds of the “Hanging Judges!” Will the realism genre of artists be taking a back seat in the future exhibitions of the SWLA? I look forward to hearing your comments and to this September when we should see a new platform for wildlife art in the UK.

Related Links

Read Michael McCarthy’s full article here:

Chris Rose Wildlife Artist and Bird Illustrator

Bird Artist Charley Harper’s Lasting Legacy

May 16, 2011

Charley is an artist that has touched the hearts of Americans for over 50 years, though his work sadly hasnt touched many of us in the UK, but he is one artist whose style appeals to my taste  and I would like to share his art with you. In  my artist statement I that I try to move away from the “bird on a twig” picture (that’s not a derogatory statement by the way )

A statement which is supported by the acclaimed wildlife artist …Robert Bateman, “Sadly, I feel much wildlife art is… When you see it, you feel you have seen it a thousand times before – yet another wolf, or another loon, or some other overworked subject done in the same old way. And, it looks as if it is done with a great deal of effort – every feather or every hair painted in great detail, but no sense of form or air or space or time, and often flat as a pancake”.

Yet, with Charley Harper’s work he makes it his focus not only to simplify his art but to make his pictures flat. “Flat as a pancake”, so an element considered as “no go area” in making art has worked extremely well for Charles Harper. His technique really works for me, and again shows how your imagination can bring many benefits, especially originality.


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With a title such as “Wrented”, you will see that Charlie liked to add a spin with puns to his work…some are very cheesy indeed.  He describes his style as minimal realism, minimal it may be, but its effectiveness in delivering a thoughtful kick to the viewer is more than minimal, I think that is why his bird art has been very successful. He stated that he couldn’t improve on nature so he approached his subject from a different perspective, this in fact should be a key factor to all artists who embark on a professional career, without originality you will just vanish into obscurity.

“Blue Jay Patrol”

Blue Jay patrol by Charley Harper,charley harper prints,charley harper print,charlie harper artist,harper art,charley harper art,charley harper artwork,charley harper artist,charles harper print,charlie harper art, I too like to add design to my art, but I don’t think I could reduce it to the levels which Charley Harper acieved, personally I find it too “straight”, I need to put some curves into my bird art. That said, he has left us with a weighty and  lasting tome of avian art for artists to study, appreciate and gain inspiration. Charley painted at his studio near Cincinnati, Ohio, where his family still lives today.  My favourite picture was created in 1982 titled, Tern,Stones, and Turnstones.

“Tern, Stones, and Turnstones”

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What I find clever about this picture, is the ease at which you can overlook the Tern. It wasn’t until I re-read the title, that I began to look for the Tern. The Turnstones have taken control of the picture and my eyes only saw Turnstones and the stones…I had to search for the Tern. With the strong diagonal lines and white spots on the Turnstones’ heads, these elements just lead me up and down the picture, it was if half of my brain was asleep…again! I hope I could produce such an  impact in my work , I would be happy.

 Charles Harper’s Words

“…remember that I didn’t start out to paint a bird – the bird already existed. I started out to paint a picture of a bird, a picture which didn’t exist before I came along, a picture which gives me a chance to share with you my thoughts about the bird. Once you accept this seemingly simplistic but really quite profound premise, you will aprreciate the many varied approaches to the making of pictures, all of which start where realism leaves off, but all of which require an understanding of realism for their successful execution.”

Related Links

Charles Harper’s Original Art

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No1 Friendship of Fur and Feather

May 16, 2011

An owl and a pussycat had such fun, dancing and playing in the sun! And that is my very short adaption of Lear’s iconic verse. Truly this would be the greatest fishermans tale ever told! So let the video do the talking….

Bird artist’s heaven…India

May 12, 2011

Purple Rumped Sunbirds

My first introduction to the birds of India couldn’t have been better, a Brahminy Kite soaring over the Mandovi River bridge. The rust red wigs contrasting with a white body was spectacular. Unknown to me at the time, this was going to be a fortnight of birding that would be branded on my mind forever.  I would never had thought I would be painting  Purple Rumped Sunbirds… wow. The best thing for me, was that I could sit on the verandah of my apartment and get some tropical sun as well as appreciating the exotic bird life that seemed to be appearing around every corner of a local garden. I was fortunate in that the tropical garden was tendered by a gardener who dutifully watered the garden every morning before six a.m. and again in the evening. I’m sure this source of clean water was the reason this garden attracted a great number of the birds, ideal  for me as I  watched and sketched the Indian bird life  whilst soaking up the sun.

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Purple Rumped Sunbirds

Common Tailor and Racket Tailed Drongo’s

Within minutes of the gardener disappearing the regular occupants seemed to emerged in a somewhat orderly fashion, first a Common Tailor bird and then several pairs of Purple Rumped Sunbirds. I can only say you will never be underwhelmed when you first see a pair of Greater Racket Tailed Drongo’s, whose presence is unmistakably by their long black tails often seen in haute couture hats than on the birds themselves. I found India  just left ones artistic mind running wild. A sensory overload of new experiences, of tropical birds and climate, strong sunlight with hard shadows,dappled groves and strange noises all added o the theatre of Nature.

I made it a daily event to watch the garden, and every day at about 7am when there would be a short interlude. The birds would disappear when a rather large and loud hooter sounded,announcing the arrival! of the bread man! He would wheel his bicycle in to the garden overladen  with fresh bread. Once business had been conducted, and the family had all dispatched themselves off to work, the garden recaptured its tranquility and the bird life returned.

Black Shouldered Kite

The tranquility was soon interrupted as a Black Shouldered Kite made a clattering entrance through the palm trees, unfortunately I wasn’t aware of its intended quarry, but it found itself unceremoniously hanging with one leg gripping on a palm frond. Then it quickly gathered itself together and made itself scarce. All this before 8.30 in the morning, just made the day ahead  an adventure in itself, I hope I get to visit India again.

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