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#3 Winter Sunbird

Winter Sunbird (710mm x 880mm acrylic)

With the coming of winter at the Cape, the seasons shift and days shorten as the sun travels towards the distant north, and with the first rains the energy stored up during the hot dry summer is released into a profusion of flowers, a celebration of life that is many thousands of years old. And on the fynbos slopes the white metalasia flowers contrast with the orange of the leonotis, and the piercing call of the sunbirds echo across the valleys as they feast on the abundance of fresh nectar.

Winter is an interesting time artistically, for the grey skies and dark windswept peaks offer a counterpoint to the vivid greens of the slopes when the sun touches the land. The low track of the light is full of refracted reds, making the greens even more intense, and the lengthened shadows enhance the myriad of colours that are so characteristic of fynbos at this time of the year.

Spending time in nature now requires careful planning and preparation, for the winds can quickly turn a bright sunny morning into a damp afternoon, and a clearly defined mountain path can become quickly hidden by a sudden incoming mist. It is now that sketching becomes an exercise in haste, followed by many hours in the warm studio as a sunbird suddenly alights on the stem of a leonotis, pausing just long enough for me to capture its vivid colours before it dashes off again.

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