Old Nog (Feathers of Tales I)2020
Ink and watercolour on watercolour paper. 420 x 594 mm (16.53 x 23.39 in), 2020.
"And so it was that Old Nog, the wisest heron of the Two Rivers, heard the noise of bubbles breaking on the water as he alighted by the pool side" (from Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson).
During the lockdown I was restricted to the 2km area of my home, so every Saturday early morning I went for a walk to the nearby seashore at Clontarf to photograph the Brent geese that were still lingering around. I was just about to leave with my legs sore from all the squatting with the camera, when something stirred the Brents, who scattered immediately. And then a big shadow descended: the grey heron arrived. I quickly ducked behind the bushes and grabbed my camera again, just in time to take the photo that served as a reference for this painting.
This is the opening artwork for my art series "Feathers of Tales". I chose the heron as the kick-off for this major work because how could you be more majestic than this boss?! With his every slow and measured movement he demands the respect. You see him and you helplessly stop and stare. Elegant and deadly, and a real icon of the Irish waterscapes.