Tag Archives: pigeons

A Slice Of Time

14 Jun

woollies pigeons

This screenprint represents a very specific slice of time. Some years ago, there was a Woolworths store opposite the Waterstones bookshop in Swansea. I used to sit in the window of the bookshop cafe up on the first floor, with a pot of tea, and scribble the pigeons that sat on the Woolworths signage opposite. It was large and red and stood out from the wall, giving the pigeons enough space to sit and groom themselves comfortably. It was also lit up day and night, which gave them warmth.

I found the pigeons hard to draw because they constantly fidget so I had to develop a quick impressionistic style to capture them. I wrote down my thoughts and combined them with some of the drawings to create the photographic silkscreen.



On The Move

12 Sep

refugee 1

Husb and I went to the gathering in support of refugees in the centre of Swansea this afternoon. There was a good turnout and I took the opportunity to have a few scribbles. Drawing in crowds is hard; people don’t stay still. You fix on one figure as your starting point but before you finish, they’ve moved! It’s like drawing pigeons, they move constantly. So it’s good practice for me, but very frustrating.

Blue Birds

17 Nov


I carried on with my cyanotype experiments. I have always used an ultraviolet unit to expose them in the past, which takes about 6 minutes. I wanted to see if I could expose them with natural light so I sandwiched two negatives between pieces of chemically treated paper and a sheet of glass and left them for 1 hour 45 minutes in a window in the afternoon sun. I’ve been told that it’s quicker in summer, around an hour.


I developed them in cold water in the sink and I’m quite pleased with the results. The original images were small sketchbook drawings I did of pigeons some years ago. I scanned them and using Adobe Photoshop, reversed the image horizontally, inverted it into a negative and resized.

Pompidou Pigeons

22 Aug


Husb and I spent the whole day at the Pompidou Centre. What an amazing place. We sat awhile on one of the roof terraces, looking at the views over the rooftops and I had a bit of a scribble. I wanted to draw the pigeons but the statues and the building sort of took over. There is a shallow pond on the roof and the pigeons share it with the statues.

Drawn into my cloth bound sketchbook with Faber Castell Pitt Drawing pens and a touch of water colour. I prepared the sketchbook first by sticking in some brown parcel paper with a Pritt stick.

Early Bird

16 Jun

16 pigeon

Just got back from our visit to the seaside near Brighton, a six hour drive, and time for a quick blog. This is a pigeon that was snaffling wild bird seed from the feeder in my friends’ garden this morning. It was too big to stand on the pegs on the feeder, which is meant to be for tiny birds, so it clung onto the wire attached to some outdoor lights.

It was one of those pigeons with a white patch around their shoulders. I was up very early and the garden was buzzing with wildlife, loads of different birds, a squirrel and Mango the cat. Drawn with a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen, size F, into my A5 pink silk recycled sari sketchbook.

Feathery Fidgety Fellows

22 Apr


I’m part of an artist collective called Commensalis that aims to organise pop-up exhibitions in quirky places to get our work seen by a good cross-section of people, not only dedicated artanistas. We’ve found a geat mortuary chapel in Bath, UK and we’re busy raising some money through crowd-funding to cover the costs of putting on an artshow as we don’t get any public funding.


It’s the first time we’ve tried this and it’s certainly a learning experience. It works by inviting people to become sponsors and in return they can choose a ‘reward’. We’re 3 weeks in and we’ve raised just over 40% of our target, which is really good, but it’s slowed down a bit over the past few days so we’re taking some of the rewards off the site and putting new ones up.


These are some tiny drawings I did a while back just after Woolworth’s Stores closed. I used to sit in Waterstones cafe opposite our local Woollies and sketch pigeons that quickly colonised the lettering on the building’s facade. Once the store had closed permanently, the signage was no longer illuminated so it was cool enough for the pigeons to sit on. They fidget all the time so it wasn’t easy to draw them!


They’re original drawings in pen onto Cotman watercolour paper, mounted onto Fabriano that I coloured randomly with a metallic acrylic medium. The overall size is approximately 15 cms square and they’re ready for framing. They’re available as rewards from our Commensalis crowdfunding site if you fancy giving one of the little fellows a home 🙂

Ruffled Feathers

3 Oct


It’s getting cold, it’s very rainy and the poor pigeons are huddling together, ruffling their feathers against the awful Autumn weather. They’re clustered on the parapet next to the landing at the studios, opposite the old Albert Hall. They also hang out on the pavement outside the flower shop below, because people feed them. Some mean people call pigeons rats with wings. I think they’re sweet. I go through phases of sketching them; they’re not easy because they keep fidgeting.

A Page Of Pigeons

14 Jan

Ink sketch: local pigeons.


There’s a nice cafe in an old cinema that’s been converted to a Waterstones bookshop in the cuty centre. Sometimes I sit in the large Victorian bow window, drinking tea and wathcing what’s going on outside and sketching. When I first started, there was a Woolworth’s store opposite which had large signage that stuck out a few inches from the wall. While it was doing well, the signage was lit up – a bright orange – but when the chain went bankrupt, the store was empty for a couple of years and because the signage was no longer lit up, it was no longer too hot for the pigeons, who colonised it almost immediately. They were almost directly opposite me so I began to draw them during my visits.

I don’t usually draw animals and had never attempted birds before and they were really hard to draw, they don’t sit still, always fidgeting. It was quite a challenge artistically so I ended up concentrating on capturing the ‘spirit’ of the birds instead of trying and failing to get a detailed likeness. That’s what taxidermy is for. I prefer to draw animals alive. The ‘H’ shows one of the letters with it’s cover off, probably blown away in a storm, and all the electrical gubbins inside. The shop has now been taken over by The Pound Store and their signage is flat, so the pigeons have nowhere to stay and I can no longer sit and sip tea and draw them.

Drawin in Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens, various sizes, into a Daler Rowney bound A5 sketchbook.

Woollies Pigeons

3 Sep

Ink sketch: Woollies pigeon #1.

I sometimes go for coffee to Waterstones bookshop in Swansea, where the cafe is upstairs opposite the old Woolworths store. After Woollies closed, the signage was colonised by pigeons; before that, the signs were always lit up and too hot for the pigeons to sit on.  I liked to sit in the big old window and it gave me a great view over the street and started sketching the pigeons. I’d never drawn birds before and I found that they never keep still. Not when I’m looking at them anyway.

I went regularly for a few months and did dozens of drawings, using a variety of Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens.  Because they’re constantly moving, the sketches are very impressionistic and capture the essence of the birds rather than trying – and failing – to be accurate zoological drawings. Recently the store was re-opened with different signage and I must make time to go back and draw the pigeons on their new perches which is very different to the old Woollies lettering; it’s more loopy.


Ink sketch: Woollies pigeon #2.


I mounted some of them onto hand-coloured Zercoll paper, which I squeegeed with a gold metallic Acrylic System 3 paint, thinned with Acrylic medium. I squeegeed it straight onto the paper, rather than using a screen so it was very textured, rather than flat.

It’s very civilised sitting in a café in a bookshop in a converted early 20th century cinema, sketching. Must do it more often.

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