Wednesday, 21 September 2016

New Painting


Cypress Lake, oil on  canvas 24"36"
This is a recent painting of Cypress Lake Provincial Park. In the background is the Niagara Escarpment and part of Georgian Bay. The rocks here are of limestone. Very different than in other parts of the bay.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Some New Works

Some new paintings that I have recently finished. These are of Franklin Island in Georgian Bay in Ontario. The Bay was a favourite haunt of the Group of Seven.
A Summer's Day, oil on canvas, 24" x 36"

Franklin Island 2, oil on canvas, 30" x 50"

Both paintings are currently at the Westmount Gallery in the west end of Toronto (Etobicoke)


Thursday, 12 November 2015

Some New Paintings


 A Lone Sheep, oil on wood panel, 36" x 36"

Rough Fell Sheep, oil on wood panel, 36" x 36"

These paintings, both of which were finished  within the last year, are based on images from a trip to England a few years back. These sheep are called "Rough Fell Sheep" and are found in the upland areas of the North of England. Not to be confused with the "Scottish Black Face".

Friday, 15 May 2015

New Mexico

May 15th 2015.

We have been in New Mexico for the last 10 days and now it's raining. The weather has been unpredictable and unseasonably cool. When the sun comes out, however, the light is fantastic and reveals the spectacular beauty of the High Desert. The rain may be unpleasant for us, but the plants love it, especially here, where they need it.

(Desert wildflowers)

Wednesday was spent at Taos Canyon, just south of the town of Taos. The weather was good enough for some painting, so I managed to get a quick sketch in. The clouds broke and the sun was shining, and we heard a wren singing just off the path into the canyon.
Ravens, Turkey Vultures and Red-Tailed Hawks were seen and are quite common here.
Taos Canyon

Rock Wren


Rio Grande Gorge, watercolour

Above: Wholeleaf Indian Paintbrush

Monday, 28 April 2014

The Cloud Forest, Quetzal National Park


Parque Nacional Los Quetzales

I am staying in a place called The Trogon Lodge, high up in the mountains of the central valley. It is late afternoon and the rains have stopped. The elevation is around 2300 Metres or 7,000 ft. I have quite ill over the last few days and unfortunately missed the early morning bird tour of the cloud forest.

The weather is cloudy and cool. Nights can be quite chilly. I have seen a number of species in the last couple of days in and around the hotel. Hummingbirds, such as the Purple Throated Mountain Gem and Green Hermit. I've seen the Rufous Collared Sparrow here and all over Costa Rica. I went for a walk later in the morning and saw a family of Spotted Wood-Quail chattering away in front of me.

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On my last morning in the cloud forest I was fortunate enough to see the Resplendent Quetzal. This is as close as I could get, and the conditions were rather poor for photography. None-the-less I feel both privileged and honoured to have seen one. Both the male and female were seen, taking turns guarding their nest from Toucanets and Squirrels who prey on the eggs and young.
The Resplendent Quetzal (male)
Magnificent Hummingbird (male)

Magnificent Hummingbird (female)

Spotted Quail

Magnificent Hummingbird

Collared Redstart

Slaty Flower-Piercer

Fiery-Throated Hummingbird


The Cloud Forest, San Gerardo de Dota



Friday, 25 April 2014

Adventures in Costa Rica

I am here in Costa Rica and it's hot every day (28C to 34C), often with 100% humidity. This is a transitional period between the wet and the dry, so it can be pretty brutal. I had a travel agent do the bookings for me since I was in a hurry to get away from The Big Smoke and the brutal winter we've had. Upon arrival on Easter Sunday the tropical sun was directly overhead and cast a small shadow beneath my feet. Welcome to Central America.


I spent the night at the Hotel Aranjuez in San Jose, the Capital. Early the next morning I took the shuttle to Sierpe to catch a boat to a tent camp near Corcovado National Park. The tent camp is run by a expatriate American from San Diego named Tom, who is in his sixties. There were fellow travellers from the Netherlands, France and the United States. That afternoon I took a walk through the forest and along the rocky shoreline and beaches I came to a glade where there were huge mango trees and capuchin monkeys getting drunk on the fermenting fruit. On my way back I got soaked in a torrential downpour, as well my camera equipment got wet and there was condensation in some of the lenses. Luckily my camera is still in working order and so are my lenses.

While I stayed at the tent camp we were transferred by boat to Corcovado National Park and greeted by a park naturalist. We saw many species such as the Roadside Hawk, Cherrie Tanager, or Scarlet Rumped Tanager, the Blue Grey Tanager, Scarlet Macaw, Little Blue Heron, Great Blue Heron (seen it), Great Egret (seen it), White Ibis, Great Curassow, Kiskadee Flycatcher, Blue Capped Manakin, Willet, Spotted Sandpiper (seen it), Chachalacas (which he called chickens) and the Black Throated Trogon. Also seen were an American Crocodile, Caiman, Spider Monkeys, Howler Monkeys, Squirrel Monkeys and a sleeping Tapir. Most were too high up in the canopy to get decent, good quality photographs, and the light was very poor in the deep, dark forest. 
There are also a few old-growth trees in the park but most are 100 years old or less.

The hotel where I am staying in is called the Hotel Paraiosa and is the nicest place I've stayed in yet. It is owned and operated by Canadians. The food is good and it has beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean with it's crashing waves and rugged coastline. The warm breeze blows through the coconut palms. Iguanas and anoles scamper away up trees and walls. There are black vultures, tyrant flycatchers (Kiskadees and Streaked Flycatchers), hummingbirds and tanagers in abundance here, plus many more I can't identify. 

When I first arrived at the hotel, my room wasn't ready, due to damage to the floor in the bathroom where the shower is, so the manager had to make arrangements with another hotel in Domenical, just down the road until the grouting was dry.

This morning I went horseback riding up the hills to the Nauyaca Waterfalls. I have never ridden a horse before, but I managed OK.The views are stunning, and the trees are festooned with  vines and bromeliads. I opted out of a swim as I had a rather bad sunburn a few days earlier, snorkelling off Canos Island. The weather was cloudy and I was not prepared for the effects  of the tropical sun on my pale white Northern European flesh. 

Tomorrow it's off to Hacienda Baru for some birdwatching.

A young Jesus Lizard, or Basilisk.

Old growth in Corcovado National Park.
 

Capuchin Monkey.

Thursday, 20 February 2014