Drygalski

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This field painting is of one of the glaciers that sweep down into Drygalski Fjord, a narrow inlet some 5 miles long at the south-eastern end of South Georgia. This was one of those beautiful, memorable days when the sun shone, the wind abated and it was warm enough to discard coats and fleeces and to sit for hours in shirtsleeves, sketching and painting.

All around could be heard the crack and thunder of avalanches as the sun warmed snowy cornices and glacier fronts. A pair of Antarctic terns nested near to where I sat and busied themselves all morning bringing fry to their single chick while crab-eater seals basked on a small island below.

Returning to the boat in the zodiac we almost ran in to a male leopard seal hauled out on one of the small ice flows at the base of this painting. It eyed us suspiciously with a menacing grin until we backed off a few metres, then it opened its jaws to almost 180 degrees in a wide yawn, displaying a very impressive array of sharp looking teeth, and went back to sleep.

I intend working this sketch into a larger painting and putting in our boat, The Golden Fleece, to give an idea of the enormous scale of this icy landscape.

Acrylic on paper

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Select an original below

  • The landing party
  • Antarctic terns
  • Soft-plumaged petrel
  • Cathedral of Ice
  • Drygalski
  • Gentoo and bergy bits
  • Storm passing – wandering albatross
  • The Nordenskjold Glacier
  • Kings and elephants
  • Cape petrels
  • Bay of Isles
  • Light-mantled sooties
  • The moultings
  • Wildlife Art week