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January 16, 2021
Born in Australia and raised in England, 'Wild thing' Skylark Galleries' new artist-blogger Amanda Gosse’s love of birds (the subject matter of much of her work) started very early in life. Her mother was a member of the RSPB and signed her up as a member of the YOC (Young Ornithologists Club). As a child Amanda used to love leafing through her mother’s Reader’s Digest Book of British Birds and she later learned that there were bird enthusiasts on the Australian side of her family too. But perhaps most thrilling of all was finding a rare copy of Popular British Ornithology, published in 1853, written and illustrated by English naturalist Philip Henry Gosse, grandfather of artist Sylvia Gosse, to whom Amanda is proudly related. Her blog will cover flora and fauna original art, at a time when many species are globally under threat from global warming.
As I write this we are a few days into another lockdown and brief escapes outside to exercise can be unappealing during the month of January. The sub-zero temperatures, the relentless grey skies, the drizzle… but there is much winter magic to discover.
I have recently moved from Sydney where January is a time to find ways of keeping cool and coping with humidity, so returning to an English winter is a stark contrast to that which I have become accustomed over the last twenty years. My golden retriever and I cover the same areas on our walks and yet there is always something new and fascinating to notice each day. The past week was cold, really cold, but with that came a hoarfrost, making the world appear sugared — every twig and blade of grass sparkled translucent white against the cool grey mist beyond, each fallen leaf outlined by frost, the monochrome only occasionally interrupted by bright rose hips appearing like brake lights at dusk.
No matter what chaos is unfolding around the world, nature is always there, quietly steadfast and visible to those who open their eyes to it. As was widely reported in 2020, the public’s attentions gradually turned to nature — some people saying that, for the first time in their lives, they started to notice flora and fauna and even discovered walks in their area they didn’t previously know existed!
Nature can be found even in the most unexpected places — a tree in a city square, a leaf growing between paving slabs, a bird on a ledge — all are a reminder that the reassuring, uplifting benefits are available for us all.
A few things to look out for in January
Catkins are starting to appear.
Snowdrops are emerging.
Fieldfares are winter visitors, usually seen in small numbers until around April, when they return to Scandinavia. Often mistaken for redwings, fieldfares have a distinctive short, harsh call as well as a softer chatter.
Starling murmurations are a sight to behold, much like a shoal of black fish moving and shape-shifting across the sky; thousands of birds join together in this natural wonder before settling to roost for the night.
This month I have chosen three artworks which suggest winter in some way to me. If you click on their names you will be able to meet the artist.
Fatigue 26 by Michael Frank £180
Together by Helen Trevisiol Duff £75
Landscape in Icelandic White by Sarah Knight £90
February 04, 2021
What a relaxing thing it must be to chart the passing of the seasons with your dog, whilst gathering inspiration for your art!
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