Scottish Safari

I was commisioned to paint a Scottish Wildcat some time ago but until recently lacked the opportunity to photograph or sketch said elusive feline. I recently visited the Grampian region, my favourite area of Scotland and made the time to visit the Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig. What a terrific place this is, not only did I get my material on wildcats but I saw the three new Amur tiger cubs recently born there. I had some difficulty in photographing the wildcats as the cages are in a wooded setting and consequently very dark, added to this the wildcats don’t exactly pose! Anyway I ramped up the ISO setting to 1600 on my camera and stuck it up against the cage to’ lose’ the wire mesh and over the course of two hours; did the best I could. The cats look quite a bit beefier than your standard Tabby, particularly the male (called Elvis would you believe). The finished painting will feature on my web site as soon as the customer sees it.

Squirrel Cat

After getting my wildcat mission sorted I visited the Huntly Peregrine Wildwatch Centre at Bin Forest on the A96 in Aberdeenshire. This place was even more enjoyable than the Wildlife Park, I visited it on four occasions and not only do they have a resident pair of Peregrines, the super hide gives a terrific view of all kinds of birds and wildlife including Red Squirrels, guess what my next painting will be of. The staff there are very good and are happy to provide all the background information you could wish for. Binoculars and telescopes are readily available and it is a wonderful place for families to visit.

Peregrines have been in this quarry for over twenty five years now, even during the period when it was an army firing range. Admission is free but quite frankly I would have been happy to pay for the enjoyable time I spent there. Check out their web site