This is watercolour in an old soft-cover book that was destined for the dustbin.
Every Spring this Bishop dons his vibrant Red and Black coat, providing bursts of colour as he flits through the trees, trying to catch the attention of a female, building nest after nest until one is accepted and the happy couple move in to raise their brood of 3 or four little Bishops.
I’ve developed this quirky habit of sketching in old books – happened quite by mistake. I was clearing out the bookshelf and took a couple of books destined for the dustbin outside to my deck, with a cup of tea, to browse before finally discarding them. (I’m a terrible hoarder, have trouble throwing anything away!)*
The Red Bishop was perched on a fence post in my garden, (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa) and I just HAD to capture him before he flew off – this old book was the closest, and my pencil is always behind my ear, so I grabbed it, did a quick sketch before he flew off, rushed inside for my paints and returned to finish the colours off while he was flitting from tree to tree.
And so started a new hobby – no more books in the dustbin, many accompany me on my field trips for some quick little sketches of grasses, weeds and indigenous flowers – I’ll use the sketches that I do in these soft-covers as reference for larger paintings at a later stage.