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Meet the Models | Wildlife Art | Summer 2020

From deer emerging from woodland to owls flitting over evening skies, meet the wildlife art models that inspired my paintings this season.

Click here to see paintings these photos have inspired.

August 28th, 2020

Otter (Lutrinae)

Meet the Model

Otters have two layers of fur to keep them warm in northern seas. This extra lining also traps air close to their skin making them buoyant and it’s not uncommon to see otters floating on their backs.  Their thick coats are made up of around a million hairs per square inch and are the thickest of all mammals. I photographed this during a research trip to Scotland.

Click here to see my collection of otter paintings inspired by this sighting

meet the models

August 21st, 2020

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter Nisus)

Meet the Model

Sparrowhawks are relatively small hawks with bright yellow eyes and orangey-yellow legs. They are adapted to hunting in dense woodland which means they can twist and turn around tree trunks and branches at lightning speed. Unfortunately, these formidable flying skills also give them the edge in built-up areas and these hawks are known for their sudden attacks on garden birds.


August 1st 2020

Swallow (Hirundo Rustica)

Meet the Model

Swallows nest in my garden every summer and although I have painted these visitors many times, I’ve always wanted to create the perfect backdrop for a painting. So one year I hung out an old storm lantern close to their usual nesting place on my porch. I was delighted when they chose to nest in it and the photo below became a study for a new painting.

Click here to see the painting this sighting inspired

meet the models

July 25th, 2020

Wren (Troglodytes Troglodytes)

Wildlife Art Model of the Week 

A small bird with a big personality. Despite being one of Britain’s tiniest birds, the wren is one of its noisiest. Listen out for its noisy trills in gardens now. This bird is easy to identify by its round, dumpy body and the way it holds its tail erect.

Click here to read about the wren that lives in my porch and see the paintings it has inspired


July 17th, 2020

Barn Owl (Tyto Alba)

Wildlife Art Model of the Week

Barn owls form a strong bond in order to work together to raise their chicks, with the male mainly hunting for food and the female brooding.  I photographed this pair taking some time out together after a busy breeding season. I thought the way they posing would make a good composition for a new painting.

meet the models

July 11th, 2020

Fox (Vulpus Vulpus)

Wildlife Art Model

Better known for their stealth, foxes are actually fast runners and have been reported to reach speeds of 45kms an hour. They are only likely to achieve this speed in short bursts, however. I photographed this vixen as it dashed across a clearing after a rain storm in Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire.

Click here to read the story and see the painting it inspired

wildlife photo of the week fox


July 4th, 2020

Gannet (Morus)

Wildlife Art Model

Britain’s largest seabird, the gannet gets its name from the Old English ‘ganot’ meaning strong or masculine.  Britain hosts 60% of the world’s gannet population and Yorkshire is home to the UK’s largest mainland colony at RSPB Bempton. 

Click here to see the painting this gannet inspired & read more about gannets

June 26th, 2020

Badgers (Meles Meles)

Wildlife Art Models

Badgers like to keep a tidy home. They regularly roll up their old bedding straw and drag it out from their underground chambers ready to replace it with fresh grasses. Discarded heaps of straw scattered around an area of bare ground is usually a good indicator that a badger sett is occupied.

Read about the badgers that inspire my paintings. 

wildlife art models, badgers

June 19th, 2020

Tawny Owl (Strix Aluco)

Wildlife Art Model

Tawny owlets are notoriously adventurous and often leave the nest long before their flight feathers have fully developed. Known as ‘branchlings’ they spend their days hopping about the branches close to the nest and accidents can happen. If you come across one, the best thing to do is to carefully place it on a nearby branch. But be very wary – the adult owls may not be far away and will attack if they think you are a threat. Tawny owls continue to bring food to their young long after they have left the nest. Their instinct to nurture is so strong I have been able to persuade adult owls to take in ‘foster’ chicks.

Click here to read how I restored two particular owlets, named Eric & Ernie, into the wild in this way.

wildlife photo of the week

June 12th, 2020

Wren (Troglodytes)

Wildlife Art Models

Wrens are among Britain’s tiniest birds. They bring up their young in cone-shaped nests lined with soft moss and grass and although the males do help, the females do most of the work. The males are polygamous and can have several females with broods in the same territory. I photographed these three chicks waiting to be fed at the entrance to their nest and was enchanted by how sweet they looked. There were at least eight chicks in the nest but the entrance was so small only three or four could fit at once, so the others had to wait their turn.

Click here to read more

June 6th, 2020

Roe Deer (Capreolus Capreolus)

Wildlife Art Model

This week’s wildlife art models are a roe fawn and its mother. I was struck by how the fawn echoed its mother’s pose as they both stopped to listen and think it would make a good composition. Now is the time to look out for roe deer fawns. These youngsters are born with a spotted coat which keeps them safely camouflaged in dappled sunlight. In the first weeks, a roe doe will hide her fawns in long grass and only visit them briefly to let them suckle but when they are ready for longer excursions they will accompany their mother in woods and fields.  


Read More:

Enjoy my wildlife photographs? Click here for more snapshots taken throughout the seasons. 

Want to see the paintings these wildlife models inspire? Click here to follow my ‘Wildlife Painting of the Week’ blog


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