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watercolour of Gannets on the Bass Rock by John BusbyOne of the exciting aspects of gradually opening drawers and exposing hidden corners in Dad's studio is finding stunning works like this.  No, it's not the famous Gannets on the Bass Rock, an oil that has been exhibited many times and appears in Land Marks and Sea Wings (p59) but a watercolour. The oil was one of John Busby's favourite paintings (and definitely not for sale!) This watercolour was obviously painted with the original in sight, but 10 years after the date on the oil.  It is also very slightly smaller and has a couple more birds in the background, but otherwise identical in composition and colouring.

I don't know why he decided to paint an alternative - particularly so long after the original had been finished.  It is possible that it was a compositional 'cartoon' for the oil that was finished at the later date. Perhaps some of John's artist friends may remember him talking about it. Do let us know.

The best news is that this one IS for sale. Make us an offer!

Shags, Craigleith  1979
Shags, Craigleith 1979
Shags and Guillemots, Bass Rock  2002
Shags and Guillemots, Bass Rock 2002
Roseate Tern 1988
Roseate Tern 1988
Red-footed Booby and chick
Red-footed Booby and chick

I recently found this map of various walks around Menston in Yorkshire which John had annotated with delicate drawings of the different species of birds he saw.  The family estimate that this was drawn up in the mid 1940's when John was a teenager.  In his book Land Marks and Sea Wings he wrote this about his childhood in the Yorkshire dales...

Gannets hanging in the wind, in Land Marks and Sea Wings p 54The John Busby Seabird Drawing Course runs annually in June based near North Berwick in East Lothian.

Now led by Darren Woodhead, Greg Poole and Kittie Jones, it is open to anyone with an interest in drawing birds in the field. It aims to nurture and encourage everyone with an enthusiasm for sketching birds, whether a keen amateur or established artist.  Be inspired by the energetic frenzy of the seabird colonies around the Firth of Forth at the height of the breeding season. There are about 20 participants on the course who take this fantastic opportunity to work alongside established artists and get an insight into the diverse approaches that they take to working in the field.