Susan Bowles Blog

Next year's calendar is now being printed and will be available from the end of July. I have chosen another twelve of Ian's paintings to illustrate it and if you would like to order, I hope you will enjoy with me over the coming months. Details of the subjects chosen, which are shown on the calendar page of this website together with order details, are as follows:

I have just returned from the magic that is the Scilly Islands, white sandy beaches and turquoise seas and the Abbey Gardens on Tresco at their colourful best in glorious sunshine. The Red Squirrels were very much in evidence chasing and darting around the magnificent statuesque trees and always such a joy to watch. We also had a Swallow's nest under the porch of the cottage there, and we were ducking and diving every time we went in and out!

I have Pheasants regularly around where I live as I back on to a shooting estate and luckily many survive and escape the gun to live and breed in the woodland and countryside here. I see the males sparring, often quite fiercely in the orchards behind me, and they were a magnet for Ian to paint with their amazing and stunning plumage and this year I thought richly deserved being on the cover of this calendar.

Also unbelievably colourful, I couldn't resist including Bee-eaters for the July plate after seeing them in north Norfolk last year where they bred for the first time in this country in an old quarry. The RSPB were managing the site as the grapevine had fuelled excitement and a multitude of birdwatchers had arrived equipped with telescopes, binoculars and cameras for a glimpse of these spectacular European birds. We had many sightings; six to eight of them perched on overhead cables and nesting in holes in the disused quarry banks. Who knows whether they will return for another year, but they were an amazing sight, although birding on mass, is not for me!

I have included some more of Ian's pencil sketches for November. The birds of prey sketches a couple of years ago were very popular and as I have mentioned before he loved to sketch, which he would often do at the shows and exhibitions which generated interest and often sales. These are Game birds and a Curlew with a little watercolour added to highlight.

I have enjoyed again putting together this calendar for you from the large archive I have of Ian's work, it is so lovely for me to look back at old friends and places we visited which inspired him. However this could be the last one. We have always prided ourselves in producing a quality item, and the RSPB have supported us over the years with a smaller version to sell to their customers which has considerably helped with my printing costs, enabling me to continue. Unfortunately this year with cut backs they are reducing their calendars and thus providers. I am producing an A4 and A3 version for 2024 hoping that those regular customers from the RSPB will find my website and order direct. We will see; I am hoping to continue, it has been so much part of my/our lives showcasing Ian's talent, and you send me such lovely comments and I know our calendar has a regular spot in your home. Let's hope 2024 is a good year!

Susan Bowles
June 2023

PS. The Bee-eaters have returned for another year - will they breed again??