Wildlife observation is difficult currently as I rush from one family Christmas commitment to another to work to bed. I resort to things I remember, on a nature theme.
When I was a child, I used to stay with my grandparent's on their Essex farm every summer during harvest. One of the many books I used to lie awake reading, with the hum of the grain dryers in the background, was this one by Norman Thelwell ( Died in 2004 ). I used to pour over the pages taking in all of the little details and his illustrations will forever remind me of wonderful summers exploring the English farmland countryside, blue-bell woods and streams around their Epping farm.
Famous for his horse riders and sailing illustrations,Thelwell was also a wonderful observer of wildlife, as in these studies of foxes and birds. The drawings in this book were an early inspiration and one of a number of influences that made me want to draw. When my grandparents died in the 1980's the book was one of the few items I asked if I could have, along with a battered armchair and a collection of Giles annuals.
• On a completely different note, but still bird related - I am putting together a presentation about book illustration and I am including this classic book page from the 'Diary of an Amateur Photographer' 1998 - by the wonderful Graham Rawle. (www.grahamrawle.com)