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Thursday, 21 May 2020

Covid 19 Unleashes a Hidden Talent
Drake mallard by Mike Crow

Covid 19 Unleashes a Hidden Talent

I know that they walk with a rather ridiculous waddle and I know that they make a very tuneless squawk. I know that their gruesome approach to romance does not mark them with much nobility. Despite all this I believe a male mallard, afloat on his own reflection in still waters, the bright sun making gemstones of his head, shading it wondrous satin green to blue to purple as he drifts in lazy circles, is one of nature's triumphs. There are more exotic ducks and more brightly coloured ducks and many rarer ducks, but for me our humble mallard outshines them all. From his coal black, cheekily upswept tail feathers, along his delicately shaded flanks, up his bulging purpled chestnut breast to that crowning glory, he is a beast of subtlety, show and style. Yet by being so ubiquitous he is, sadly, so often overlooked. But not by me. I love mallards.

I have dabbled very occasionally in the past with paints and pencils but never with any real commitment or persistence, though I vowed to do so when I retired. I was shamed into digging out my brushes from their thirty year hibernation just before lockdown by the splendid efforts of my eight year old granddaughter in her art classes. The lockdown has finally eliminated the tyranny of the calendar and the clock and I have rediscovered painting as an absorbing, though often frustrating, way of letting a few hours slide gently by. Until lunch. Or tea. Or dinner. Or a bit of a nap.

I was inspired by the fabulous picture of a goldfinch that was posted on the Local Group website so I tried with little success to copy that. And then I tried a mallard just because they are one of my favourite birds.

Mike Crow

If this strange period has had any sort of silver lining at all perhaps it is that we have all had to slow right down, rediscover reading, drawing, painting, gardening, even simply sitting and relaxing, and many other pastimes that are usually pushed aside in busy lives. Thanks to Mike for sharing his dipping of brush into paint and dabbling (!) with painting once again.