I do not function well if I cannot pursue my creative fix. I am frustrated and unfulfilled and must be able to express myself in art or craft. As far as being in ‘lockdown’ is concerned, I must be lucky as I quite like being at home and being an artist; the days are never long enough to enable me to do tasks, either painting, drawing, bird watching, photography, crafting and gardening. I cannot wait to start my next project, to feel fulfilled and satisfied.
I just love nature and studying the antics of birds and animals and finding out how clever they are. I have tried to portray in this book two of my favourite subjects, which are watching the birds around us, and the antics of dogs, Jack the kelpie and Bear, our Labrador.
The most important thing for me about art and nature is that I look forward to learning something new each day, and to think it has always been there for me to see and I hadn’t noticed it before. The other exciting thing is looking forward to the next piece of art and trying to do better.
I have been able to have the time to study our resident magpies in ‘lockdown’. There are two groups. One group of five live in our backyard and paddock behind the house, and the other group live close by, spending their time around our horse, Harmony, living on tasty morsels of gum nuts, and chaff that he drops and scatters around. These two groups stay apart. Obviously, they each have their own territory.I noticed the ‘backyarders’ were desperately hungry during the drought, so decided to share my Uncle Toby’s porridge with them for their breakfast each morning. I placed a square block of wood on the ground in their paddock, and used this as their breakfast table. This group is led by a magpie who has only one leg, the other one sticks out at an odd angle, so must have had an accident of some sort. These ‘maggies’ walk up to the back door and parade about each morning until I emerge and as soon as they see me, they all fly overhead like darts making a beeline to their table and sitting among the trees, wait for me to deliver their small droplets of porridge. I notice that each magpie approaches me from a certain direction. For example, ‘Hoppy’ always comes in on my left, and on my right a little chatterbox is always much closer to me, about one metre away, and carols beautifully until I leave. The other three are in front of me all taking their positions. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to study these birds and realise how intelligent they are.