This is watercolour in an old soft-cover book that was destined for the dustbin.
Every Spring this Bishop ( Euplectes orix) 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.