What a strange year 2020 has been. So many plans and projects put on hold while we have come to terms with a new normality. There have been silver linings alongside the trepidation. I’ve not been alone appreciating time at home watching the wonderful wildlife on our doorstep.
Those of you who are familiar with my work will know that I love garden birds! So it has been a great pleasure watching the antics of House Sparrows, Chaffinches, Long Tailed Tits, Bullfinches and Blackbirds as they compete for food. Having relocated to York I am still getting to know our ‘patch’. We’ve been watching the return of about 20 swifts and keeping an eye on our newly installed nest box. A kingfisher and heron have been spotted on a local pond and jackdaws continue to skirmish on the nearby rooftops.
With the spectacular landscapes of the North York Moors National Park only a short distance away I had also started wandering further afield, getting to know more elusive birds – the Gannets at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, the awesome Goshawks of the forests and more recently Lapwings and Golden Plovers on the moors. These birds feature in some of my most recent work.
All my bird imagery is stenciled. I create my original stencils from drawings and use a spray or stippling technique over painted, textural backgrounds to create my final artwork. You can see short videos of me at work in my studio on my Instagram page @joruth – it’s a great way to see my technique and how I give a contemporary twist to a traditional art form.
This year, as a direct result of needing to keep my hands busy and my imagination in gear during lockdown, I have also used my design skills to make hand-cut bird garlands. They continue the joyous celebration of our birdlife and are a lovely way to decorate a room. They would have looked great on my Birdfair stand in the Arts Marquee! Fingers crossed for next year.
They are easy to post and make great gifts.