Monthly Archives: April 2021

Away from the birds

Tanagers and Euphonias in a frame

This week I decided to take a break from bird paintings though I did finish an A3 painting of tanagers to finish off my supply of paper. I bought more on the same day but had an urge to paint A4 sized subjects instead of the larger format.

The tanager painting has 18 species of tanagers /euphonias arranged in 6 rows with each painting set in an 8cm x 5 cm square with a salmon pink background.

Detail from the Tanager painting

I decided that the month of May would be dedicated to nature ie painting flowers and a few insects.

Having visited the Amazon and Atlantic rainforests of Brazil on many occasions I have captured plenty of photographs of flowers, insects and spiders of varying sizes and colours. When painting I prefer to to focus on the more exotic species and although not all of them are colourful they are certainly quite interesting.

The first painting I completed was a flower, trailing abutilon, also known as Chinese Lantern. It grows naturally in the southern part of Brazil though I admit to have taken photographs from a specimen in a neighbour’s garden when I lived down there.

Abutilon megapotamicum

I have a few other tropical flowers in the queue to be painted.

The first of the insects I painted this week was a Rainbow Katydid. I found a few of these while in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest.

Rainbow Katydid (Vestria sp)

The next insect was a beetle though I managed to lose the photo and its metadata while painting it and thus have no idea what it is nor where I saw it! Maybe I have a backup copy.

Yesterday I painted two versions of an owlfly (Ulodes macleayanus) which seems to be a dragon fly crossed with a fly! The insect is quite common in the northeast of Brazil, certainly where I lived in Touros where I had seen them on several occasions.

The first version is a more accurate representation of the insect while the second, that I prefer, is more stylised while retaining the identity of the creature.

In the next few weeks I shall work on other flowers and insects. I also have two side projects to complete by mid June. Deadline fast approaching so I need to focus!

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Venetian landscape

Veneto farmhouse on A3 paper

This week was severely disrupted by things happening, or not happening when expected, so I only managed to paint a landscape (two versions) and do a portrait drawing in pencil.

The landscape is a view of a farmhouse near the town of Porto Santa Margherita, Veneto, where my mother lived for many years. Whenever I visited I would often drive out into the countryside to take photographs of the farms, waterways and villages.

Earlier version on A4 paper

I had experimented with the view of the farmhouse on A4 paper but wasn’t happy with the either the composition or the lines. There are elements in both versions that I like so I may have another try when time permits. The hills in the background, foothills that lead up to the Dolomites much further to the north, were not included and I would like to put emphasis on the flatness of the land. There is a river beyond the tree-line but otherwise trees in the landscape are less noticeable.

There are actually three trees in front of the farmhouse, as painted in the A3 version, but I had separated them in the earlier version.

I hope I can clear all administrative tasks over the weekend and allow time to catch up on my painting projects next week.

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Shoot Stock

The Shoot Stock site header

The Shoot Stock site has now been successfully transferred to its new domain host and includes its own blog pages.

The previous site also had a blog page but I used it for publishing short stories whereas this new one is designed to advertise new images posted to the site, or information relevant to my photography or painting. The blog (News) also, at least for a short time, has some info about the differences in navigation between the old (Square Space hosted) site and the new (HostGator) hosted site.

Why “Shoot Stock” as a name? About 20 years ago, when I was setting up my studio in Curitiba (south Brazil) I wanted a site that reflected what I did, ie shooting images, hence I established Shoot Images (website) and Shoot Images Limited (company). I already had a website for my fine art photography (Alan Skyrme Gallery, managed by Amazing Internet) but was frustrated that I had spend a boat-load of money to have a site that worked the way I wanted. I felt that the site I had was quite quite expensive (slightly more expensive than the Square Space that I had until recently*) so I created my own sites in parallel. These included Shoot Candids, Shoot From and quite a few more, each specialising in specific aspects of my photography.

(* I note that the entry price for an Amazing Internet site is now just Β£50 though I was was paying Β£250 pa until I cancelled a few years ago. Nothing bad to say about AI but it was no longer viable for me).

Shoot Stock was one of those, for my stock photography. Interestingly I came across a photographer who’s had a website called Stock Shoot – her surname was Stock. Sadly she died (very young) and I note that her old site name is up for sale.

So that, in a nutshell, is Shoot Stock. Please feel free to explore the site.

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Crested Caracara

Crested Caracara (Caracara plancus)

This week I painted 3 birds and a landscape (the latter was a commissioned piece for a client) and have, again, exhausted my supply of paper. I was able to but some more yesterday which will keep me going for a few days, a few more days if I cut the sheets to A4 size. If I do this then I will probably either do a few landscapes or experiment with bird painting styles.

The Caracara is a large falcon that can be found throughout South America though seem to be extending into North America (California and Texas). I have seen these in various parts of Brazil and Argentina and see them almost daily overhead, where I live, often flying close to vultures (Black Vultures, Turkey Vultures and Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures).

On the admin side I have been kept busy by the set up of my website. The domain transfer has taken a bit longer to complete that I expected. I am sure it was a much faster process in the past but patience is needed in these days of the pandemic. Hopefully the new Shoot Stock site will be visible after this weekend.

Thanks for following. Feel free to comment or ask questions – I try to reply within 24 hours.

If you are in the mood to see my Instagram account, ShootCandids feel free to visit and like or follow. πŸ™‚

Web site admin

Common Myna

It has been a busy week. On monday I had my first coronavirus injection, which was quick and painless. At least that’s out of the way till jab two in three weeks time.

Apart from four bird paintings (the Myna above, a Piping-guan, a hummingbird and a Chaco Chachalaca, each on A3 paper) I devoted time in the remainder of the week to building my new Shootstock website.

The site has been closed down for a while as I needed to move it to another domain hosting service. It was on Square Space – excellent service but proved to costly for me – and is now on HostGator.

The site, built using their templates, is now ready and just waiting for confirmation if the domain transfer.

I used to have sites with Yahoo, using their templates to start then writing my own code to make changes. The issue with that was the time taken to maintain the site which was a distraction (but a great learning experience).

I prefer template-based sites as I can concentrate in painting, design or photography, minimising the time spent on admin.

The new site shootstock should be visible this weekend*.

Shoot Stock is one of the first domains I bought in support of my stock photography business almost 20 years ago. Now it promotes all of my work – work that used to be spread across 6 websites!

I shall confirm when the new site is accessible.

Mynas, above, are common birds in various parts of Asia where I saw and photographed them on various occasions. Watercolour on A3 paper.

Thanks for following. Feel free to comment or ask questions – I try to reply within 24 hours.

If you are in the mood to see my Instagram account, ShootCandids feel free to visit and like or follow. πŸ™‚

  • Looks like it may take a few more days for the domain transfer to complete and then for the site to be updated 😦