"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Monday, 19 May 2014

Some Coot, Coots or maybe Cootses

The Coot, Fulica atra, the dark waterbird.

Coming back from holiday always takes a bit readjustment and I am well behind in my various projects. I didn’t get any sketching done in Amsterdam so output was low but input very high. The Museums, bars, canals markets, food and people were so much fun and so interesting, even in the rain, that we are going back in the autumn. However it was my turn over on Beautiful Beasts last week and after seeing a feisty coot on one of the canals I decided to do some coot sketches.  You can read more about these sketches on Beautiful Beasts: see Canal Coot and A Cute…ah no….a Coot Chick.

Near the Rijksmuseum, sections of the canal have been planted with nesting platforms of water plants, just a few feet from the bank. This small coot was very busy chasing anything and everything, including us, away from her nest which contained at least one not-very-pretty little chick.

canal coot 

Her ugly baby 

But I am very fond of coot and see them all the time round the reservoir. I had made this sketch of one of our local birds last year.

acootbg_thumb2

It’s also also given  me the opportunity to finish a trial scraperboard of a coot chick which I had started some years ago.

coot-ph-bg

Scraperboard on the desk..

coot-chick--bg 

Scraperboard 4 x 5 inches

In reality the very small chicks are odd looking, with their red/orange bald head and a halo of yellow feathers. They lose these quite quickly. The characteristic white shield of the adult bird, which gives rise to the old saying “as bald as a coot” takes about a year to develop.

 coot-baby-sketch-bg

coot-wcol-bgv 

Coot are comical and very attractive. I am fascinated by their feet. I am planning a print.:)

3 comments:

E.M. Corsa said...

This watercolor sketch is simply fabulous - so fresh and endearing! I always find a sketch to be the best work. Thanks for sharing.

Tammie Lee said...

such an adorable scraperboard piece!!
watercolor is charming too.

sharp green pencil said...

Thank you so much both ! Sketches are lovely indeed and sometimes better than an overworked image..but then I do love some highly detailed paintings..
Tammie, have you tried scraperboard?It is capable of such fine detail and is fun to try.