“Summer’s Swallow”
Blog, Coloured Pencil, Wildlife

“Summer’s Swallow”

“Summer’s Swallow”, coloured pencil on Strathmore paper, 470mm x 240mm, by Martyn Fox.

These little birds are amazing adventurers. Every year they travel from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe to breed, before leaving again in the Autumn to over-winter down there and then doing it all over again. The amount of miles these delicate little birds clock up is nothing short of astounding, and considering how small and fragile they are it is quite a feat.

When they turn up in England, its a sure sign that spring is on its way and that warmer brighter weather is just around the corner. They are one of those pleasant signs of the changing season that is always a welcome one. The agility they possess as they fly to catch their insect prey is nothing short of mesmerising, and it is always worth just watching them as they go.

It was just such an experience that inspired me to draw this one: I was out walking my dog one morning when I heard a flock of them overhead catching their prey, and then some swooped down very low to the ground and passed very close by to me. As it flew past, I could clearly see the bright silver-blue feathers and the reddish brown forehead and it was such a lovely moment. I wanted then to create a piece of work on one, so set about doing so when I got back.

I wanted this one to be focussed on the subject as I usually do, except I really wanted to emphasise the fragility and delicate nature of these amazing birds. I drew it life size with plenty of negative space around it: this really serves to show the subject off well and although it is a lot of white space compared to the subject, I think it is as much part of the drawing as the drawing itself.

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