Out on exhibition at the Gallery on the Square, Queen Mother Square, Poundbury, Dorset DT1 3BL From October 30th to December 12th 2021. Please contact the gallery to purchase this piece: 01305 213322.
In the grounds of my studio at Westbury Arts Centre live a couple of green woodpeckers who search the lawn for their food which are ants which is why it's not a good idea to flatten anthills. They have a laughing call in flight and can be heard drilling into trees in the Spring, in fact at the moment one is doing just that near to my house. They have an undulating flight and are very noisy when they are young calling from the nest with a rasping noise. The male can be identified by it's red moustache. Those of you old enough may remember the wise Professor Yaffle from 'Bagpuss?' I decided to draw this woodpecker on the ancient apple tree which is over a 150 years old and has recently been noted and included in the National Tree Register.
I worked for a long while to get the particular green of the woodpecker in watercolour which is more of an olive green like the leaves of the apple tree. There are tiny and subtle flecks of gold in the painting.
There is also a legend that green woodpeckers can warn of rain and storms:
“John Aubrey, a 16th century English antiquarian, noted that the bird was used by the druids for divination and stated that ‘to this day the country people do divine of raine by their cry.’” (BTO)