Lapwing – Vanellus vanellus

‘As well as ‘Lapwing’ and ‘Peewit’, this bird is also known locally as the ‘Green Plover’. Its Latin, Vanellus,name means ‘little fan’ and actually refers to its floppy, flapping flight. The name Lapwing is thought to derive from an Old English term meaning ‘leap with a flicker in it’ because the dense winter flocks appear to flicker between white and black when the birds flap their wings’  Somerset Wildlife Trust.

One of the highest known winter concentrations of lapwings are found on the Somerset Levels, though numbers have fallen.

‘The declines in lapwing population have been greatest in southern England and Wales, where the farming changes have been greatest and farmland is the only suitable habitat for the lapwing. Between 1987 and 1998 lapwing numbers dropped by 49 per cent in England and Wales. Since 1960 the numbers dropped by 80 per cent’  RSPB. 

You can read more about the decline in population resulting in the UK conservation status of Red being applied to the Lapwing here.

To hear the call of the Lapwing click here.

As with all of my work I start with an image, usually a photograph.  Most recently these have been provided by Chris Hooper, a local photographer who is kind enough to let me use his images as inspiration for a piece.  Though I enjoy painting and drawings its certainly not a great strength of mine but I thought, on this occasion I would show some of the preliminary sketches I did for this piece.

There was real joy sorting through my large stash of fabrics trying to find the petrol colours found in the Lapwing.  The series of images below show the stages/layers building up the initial image.

Readers of recent blogs will see that I am increasingly painting small details directly onto the pieced bird, these are a great guide once I start stitching.  Some pieces, like this one go so well that I am now left nervous to stitch, concerned that the stitching will not be as delicate as the painting.  A funny concept for a Textile artist!

The left hand image has outline marks showing feather direction, the right has painted details using fabric paints and a very fine brush.

There is obviously a long way to go on this piece and I look forward to showing progress as and when I get there!