Exploring the local wildlife

One of the subjects that I am keen to explore this year is the local wildlife. I have always enjoyed painting and drawing horses and would like to expand this to other animals. I am very lucky to live in an area with an abundance of wildlife and I only have to go for a short walk to catch sight of deer, a variety of wild birds and even the occasional badger!


The camera is an invaluable aid if you are fortunate enough to come across some of these creatures whilst out walking. I was thrilled to take my first badger photograph last year having only previously managed fleeting glimpses of them. If you have the time and the patience, you can get quite close to them and watch them investigating the local fields. They are fascinating creatures and I am going to produce some sketches and eventually a sculpture, although that is very much at the planning stage at the moment.


Deer are a common sight in these parts of Dumfries & Galloway in south west Scotland but they are still very wary of people. They can easily be startled so it is very rare that you can watch them for long periods, unless you go prepared with a good pair of binoculars. As I have found to my cost, it only takes the slightest noise to disturb them and they are away in a flash. If you want to see them at close quarters, there is always the local deer park with guided tours.

Herons are also frequent visitors to the area, and they are not averse to landing in your garden if there is water lying. As yet, I haven’t managed to get close enough for a really good photograph. There are a wide variety of wild birds in the area but this is a bit more specialised, both in terms of knowledge and the ability to photograph them. For the time being, I am concentrating on the larger animals for inspiration.


This region is well known for the Belted Galloway cattle and they are a particular favourite of mine. I had never seen one before moving to Scotland but they are now a familiar site in the surrounding fields. The Highland Cow is the best known breed in Scotland and you do come across them even in the lowlands. I am sure that these fine beasts will also feature in my work over the next few months!

Gathering the inspiration for artwork is rather like a writer waiting for everything to click into place so that they can begin their next novel! It’s all about setting the groundwork before making a start. That is probably the hardest bit, especially when you have not been able to devote much time to your artwork in the recent past. I do envy artists that can just go to their studio and launch into a new project. If you have any comments on my blog you can reach me on email via harvey.mayson@bigvyor.com

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