October drawing of the month: Flying Dunlin

Flying dunlin watercolour and fine line drawing (c) Ella Johnston
My October drawing of the month is of a flying dunlin.

As the co-founder of Dunlin Press this bird is particularly important to me and Dr B. We are very fond of these birds, very soon they’ll be scuttling around in the mud on Wivenhoe quay.

Work in progress: Flying dunlin watercolour and fine line drawing (c) Ella Johnston

I’ve been drawing dunlins for a little while now, and even have a print of another dunlin drawing available on Folksy, but I’ve never attempted to draw a flying dunlin before. They are quite magical when they fly. I normally spot these wading birds in groups scurrying around on the mud as the tide is coming in during twilight so it’s quite hard to see them at first. You can just about detect them by a little flash of white on their bellies. It’s only when they fly do you see them fully as the white plumage underneath their wings catches and twinkles in the moonlight, it’s lovely.

dunlin print by Ella Johnston

I created this illustration with washes of watercolour and picked out the details with a uni-pin fine line pen, you can see me adding some detail in the video below…

Ella’s Edit: 5 Amazing metallic home buys

1: Tom Dixon brass bowls

This summer I went to a Tom Dixon Autumn/Winter 2017 preview. It’s Tom Dixon so as you can expect it was gorgeous but it was also interesting as there was a very minimal use of metallics. When I asked about this I was told “Everyone has picked up on what Tom has started; people have copper toilet brushes now. And while we love the classics, we also have to innovate with metallics and we need to give them a different edge”.

So we have to do something a bit more interesting with metallic tones and I’ve picked five amazing metallics pieces that do just that.

I love the Tom Dixon brass bowls featured above – in fact I have a set myself. The burnished, matte surface immediate gives pieces patina and I think this muted metallic look is a good starting point for selecting contemporary metallic accessories for this season.

2: Filled votive, Sainsbury’s

At £145 for the set, the Tom Dixon bowls may be a bit of a stretch for humble home accessories (I got mine as a birthday gift from DR B to be fair). If you do like a bit of burnished gold on a budget, this filled votive from Sainsbury’s is a steal at £6.

3: Ceiling Pendant Light in Black, Atkin and Thyme

Metallic accents also really work. This ceiling pendant light in black from Atkin and Thyme gives this industrial shade a luxurious edge. Just like the Dixon bowls it’s burnished copper interior avoids the bling some metallics give off rather is adds warmth and texture. At £99, it would make a stunning statement in a minimal space.

4: Metallic lustre vase, The Contemporary Home

If you do need a bit of bling, the aged effect on this this metallic lustre vase from The Contemporary Home tones down the shiny and ramps up the texture. At £6 I can see three of these in a line on my based up dining room table, teamed with some twinkly tealights to create a bit of autumn/winter atmosphere at a dinner party.

5: Cult Living Mountain Print Framed Poster, Cult Furniture

I think an element of shine can still work with metallics – I love this Cult Living Mountain Print Framed Poster from Cult Furniture. These strong copper outlines juxtaposed with the marble textures, matte blacks and soft muted pinks bring out the bling without making it too brash.

New Products!

Unicorn Card (c) Ella JohnstonI have new products on my Not On The High Street shop; a unicorn card, a hare greeting and a beautiful eucalyptus art print. All are taken from my original watercolour and ink drawings.
Hare Card (c) Ella JohnstonMy hare and unicorn prints have been incredibly popular at various art fairs with many people asking if I was going to produce co-ordinated greetings – well nobody can say I don’t listen! The new Eucalyptus botanical print is a bit of an indulgence to be honest – I simply wanted one for myself. Botanical print (c) Ella Johnston