Redshanks High Tide


On an early September evening I watched small groups of Redshanks gather on a rocky breakwater as the tide continued to rise.

The light at Rosslare at this time of evening can be beautifully intense. One of those magical occasions when everything falls into place and painting feels effortless. Eventually the tide submerged the rocks leaving the birds standing precariously on the few remaining stones.

I first washed in a background of paynes grey with a little ultramarine and burnt sienna. To be honest, I never wholly concerned about the exact colour mix, once it represents what’s in front of me. It’s one of the joys of working in the field. Once the main composition is fixed, details can be added even when the birds have shifted.