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  • Katy Garrod

Art inspired by nature


One of my heroes, David Attenborough, said:

Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?

One of the consolations over this most unusual year has been spending time in some beautiful areas of the country as well as my own garden. I have been inspired by the wild, lonely salt marshes, heathlands and estuaries of Suffolk and the stately beech woods, chalk grasslands and meandering River Thames of the Chiltern Hills where I live.

Whilst some areas of the U.K. had many more holiday makers this summer than normal, we saw few others as we walked the wild coastline of Suffolk, and cycled through our local Chilterns hills.

Nature has provided inspiration in many forms including the colours and shapes of lichens and plants, and latterly the amazing fungi that we found in the ancient woodlands.

Birds of all sizes, shapes and colours have bought these landscapes to life. I saw rare marsh harriers over the extensive reedbeds of Suffolk - one had wing tags as the population is being monitored as part of a conservation project. Little egrets, once rare, are now common along with lapwings. These swans were clearly practising for their role in the 12 days of Christmas - there is always one who doesn’t get to the rehearsal on time - whilst the cormorants we’re doing their best three French Hens impersonation.

I’ve particularly enjoyed watching the small flocks of finches and starlings that move through the shrubby trees and reed beds around wetlands, arguing and jostling for the best feeding site. A charm, a trembling and a trim are all collective nouns for finches, and they suited the different behaviours of the little flocks.

These flocks have inspired my latest series of paintings, from small studies on paper where I have been trying out colours and compositions, to larger work on board and canvas.

I have been experimenting with contrasting, bright coloured lower layers, and either darker or lighter top layers. I have wanted to try and capture the birds as I saw them; fleeting, fast moving and only partially glimpsed as they fly in synchrony through the head-high reeds and small shrubby trees.

The small studies and a few of the larger works are now available.

Newsletter subscribers will get 10% off their first order. All the Bird collection has free shipping to the U.K.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to know any more about a particular picture - I can send you additional photos or, if you are local (to Henley-on-Thames) , I can arrange a suitably COVID-safe viewing.

I hope you enjoy them.

Wishing you a safe and enjoyable holiday season.


Katy Garrod Art


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