By: Michael Warren(Illustrator), Simon Barnes(Foreword By)
192 pages, colour illustrations
Mascot Media has published renowned bird artist Michael Warren's second book of colourful sketches from Langford Lowfields, the Nottinghamshire sand and gravel pit being transformed into the newest RSPB reserve. Mike has been sketching the growing number of species (latest count 189) attracted to Langford Lowfields every month since 1989, with this second volume, Taking Flight: the Birds of Langford Lowfields, including his monthly sketches from 1999-2014, completing his artistic record of this important wildlife project.
Printed in the UK and containing more than 190 pages of Mike's stunning work, Taking Flight includes a foreword by Simon Barnes, who explains that "Mike can make birds live again. Not just the shape and the colours; the movement, the attitude, the moving spirit. He can do this with an elaborate painting, but for me it's all the more vivid when done – suggested, hinted at – with a few deft and thoughtful lines."
"I decided to review Michael Warren’s compilation of sketches on the basis that fewer words would require less time; that was a real mistake as it’s possible to spend many an hour absorbed within the beautiful pages of Michaels’ stunning artwork.
Langord Lowfields is a habitat creation project managed by the RSPB and Lafarge Tarmac aiming to restore spent quarry workings to suitable wetland within the Nottinghamshire Trent valley. Michael has been involved with the project since gravel extraction started and his latest book charts the arrival of an immense wealth of biodiversity at the site over the last 25 years.
The sketches are frequently fluid and often intimate, capturing an amazing range of species in striking detail, giving dynamic glimpses into a private world that would be difficult to convey using photography. His broad lines and earthy shades accurately bring to life the many inhabitants of this still active quarry. From leaden skies providing a backdrop to wintering ducks and waders, to a crouching Jack Snipe, a Little Ringed Plover tending young, or Bearded Tits busily flitting through the reed beds lovingly planted by dedicated volunteers; Michael weaves a perfect pictorial narrative of the birdlife of Langford Lowfields. As the years progress his work truly reflects the astonishing increase in species diversity at the site.
With a an expressive forward by Simon Barnes, I would heartily recommend this book to all lovers of wildlife art as well as anyone wishing to while away a few hours with an inspiring pictorial account of local patching at its best. Now where did I put those pencils?"
- Justin Walker, BTO book reviews
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