Shallow waters – goosanders


Oil on linen, 71cm x 112cm

A long dry spell had left the river Tweed, near my home in the Scottish Borders, very low. River stones became exposed and wore skirts of dark green algae that would ordinarily be submerged. A pair of goosanders threaded their way through the rocks, trying to find channels deep enough not to hinder their paddling feet.

The scatter of rocks formed an interesting, abstract pattern, with each stone linked to the next by v-shaped riffles in the shallow water. An acrylic field painting accurately recorded the scene but for compositional harmony the exact positioning of the rocks in this studio painting required very careful consideration.

Goosanders are striking-looking birds but I liked the way their colours and shapes harmonised with, and almost blended into, this small piece of their landscape.


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