Jumping to conclusions

Jumping to conclusions

If you're one of my loyal mailing list subscribers, you might recall that I shared the reference photo for this birdie back in my October newsletter. Well, I made a big faux pas...!

From the moment I first saw Paul Livingstone's beautiful photo, I was enchanted! I just loved the feeling that any moment now, this bird was going to dart to a neighbouring rock or shoot into the sky or burst into song or... Anyway, I'm not sure how it happened, but for some reason I thought it was a female Cape Rockjumper, when in fact it's a female Cape Rock Thrush.

There's no denying that both these endemic species are oh-so-enigmatic. The Cape Rockjumper is certainly very elusive too, and listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. They are found in an extremely specific and rare habitat of mountain Fynbos, restricted to the southernmost tip of South Africa between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

Apart from a pretty convincing resemblance between the two species' females, it was perhaps the rarity of the Cape Rockjumper that made me see what I wanted to see when I read Paul's description of his photograph of the Cape Rock Thrush.

I recently sent Paul some work-in-progress photos of his bird, and up until the moment I received his glowing response - which included a kindly nudge towards the bird's true identification - I believed the Jumper to be a Thrush. I mean, the Thrush to be a Jumper...

To add insult to injury, my mom, as excited and supportive as ever by my most recent project, sent me BirdLife South Africa's most recent newsletter: By some fabulous it-must-be-a-sign stroke of good fortune, their 2021 Bird of the Year just happens to be a Cape Rockjumper. And I'm like, "Ooooh myyyy goodnessss! This will go so well in my newsletter with my newly painted Cape Rockjumper!" And Mom and I giggle and clink proverbial glasses to how clever we are and how wonderful it is when things work out just so.

Oh, thrush it!

Anyway, the mistaken identity did nothing to hinder my absolute adoration of Paul's amazing photo, nor the awe inspired by Mother Nature's beauty, The Cape Rock THRUSH.

So -- It brings me great pleasure to introduce you to "Jump!" (Yes. Yes the name is ironic with good reason). Both the original watercolour painting and 20 limited edition, fine art prints are now available in my online shop.

In the meantime, enjoy the work-in-progress of this enchanting lady:

watercolour bird painting work in progress

The hideous moment when paintbrush first touches paper, is what I not-so-affectionately refer to as "The Ugly Phase". I have a whole collection of photos just like this one, which I take every time I start a new piece, and I'm plagued with self-doubts!

artist studio

My trusty assistant, Kitty, keeping a watchful eye over my progress. And also taking any chance she can to steal my chair...!

cape rock thrush photo realistic watercolour painting work in progress

cape rock thrush photo realistic watercolour painting work in progress

Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram. I shared a really cool time lapse of the work-in-progress of the wing there!

work in progress of super realistic watercolour cape rock thrush bird painting

work in progress of super realistic watercolour cape rock thrush bird painting

cape rock thrush watercolour painting work in progress

details of super realistic cape rock thrush watercolour painting

behind the scenes the happy struggling artist

On a dark, cloudy afternoon, the only good light is outside! My trusty assistants, hubby Alex and the infamous Kitty, are lending a hand (and paw!).

artist selfie

Aaand, as usual, I'm terrible at taking a selfie!

framed watercolour painting of cape rock thrush against beautiful blue wall

Find the limited edition, fine art prints of Jump! here, and see the original in store here:

the happy struggling artist exclusive mailing list 001

Back to blog

1 comment



Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.