Following on from my poor attempt at illustrating gulls I thought I would post a bit about one of the masters of gull illustration and bird art as a whole.
I hope Martin Elliott doesn't mind me scanning a few pages from backdated issues of Birding World and British Birds in order to demonstrate to those who haven't come across him and his work (which is very unlikely)just how amazing he is at bringing birds to life through graphite, ink and paint.
Not only is he a massive inspiration to me but when I open the Gulls and Skua plates in The Handbook of Bird Identification:For Europe and the Western Palearctic I disappear into the pages and its as if I am seawatching at Spurn in September.
To be able to achieve this through a brush and paint is simply magical. Anyone who has attempted to illustrate larids whether it be for field notes or descriptions knows just how difficult they are to depict correctly. Martin Elliott not only nails their structure but also all plumage/age types with immense accuracy.
A little known treasure on Fair Isle is a Martin Elliott original situated in a certain croft in the south of the island depicting a Red-flanked Bluetail.
I don' t know how many times I went inside the croft during my two year stint on Fair Isle but every time I did I would make a beeline for his piece and gawp at it!
For that 30 seconds or so I would look at it I would disappear into my own little world and imagine what it must be like to find one of those little eastern gems at the base of a dyke with the noises, smells and seascapes of Shetland surrounding you and a bird that has quite easily never been seen by human eyes since it fledged from a stunning nest in the boreal zone!
I apologise for sounding like Billy Elliot but I just love his stuff and still get excited every time I pick up a new edition of Birding World in case his work features in one of the articles
The following are a few examples of his work and I just hope you enjoy them as much as I do and hope he doesn't mind me reproducing them on my blog for people to enjoy just as much as me.
Scillonian pelagic Fea's Petrel, Martin Elliott
Red-breasted Nuthatch, Norfolk 1989, Martin Elliott
Subalpine Warbler, Martin Elliott
Portland Pipit, 1989, Martin Elliott (Richard's Pipit)
Golden-winged Warbler, Kent 1989, Martin Elliott
Another incredible Artist and Larid Illustrator that has to be checked out is Hans Larsson who illustrated The Gulls of Europe, Asia and North America
Another very talented Swede who's work is truly beautiful stuff!