Words about pictures, and other things, too.

Read on!

  • Andean condor

    The birds of Peru – coasts and mountains

    Peru is home to nearly 2,000 species of birds; a fifth of all the world’s bird species. To someone like me who is fascinated by birds, but by no means an expert, that’s a hell of a lot of birds to swot up on. And OK, I can tell a tern from a cormorant from kingfisher, but what about the

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • In praise of Peruvian mammals

    Our trip to Peru earlier this month was punctuated with sightings of all kinds of wildlife: birds, insects, lizards; and although we saw no big predatory land mammals, such as jaguars, we glimpsed many other fascinating mammals. I suppose when most people think of South American mammals they think of the iconic domesticated camelids: the alpaca (Vicugna pacos) and the

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  • Nazca lines

    Nazca lines, grand designs

    On a high desert plateau in the west of Peru are a spectacular series of massive geoglyphs known as the Nazca lines. The dry and windless climate has preserved the geoglyphs in superb condition. They were made sometime between 400 and 650 AD by the long-gone Nazca people, possibly as part of a water cult. No one really knows what

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • We and Jimmy Page spellbound by Roy Harper

    It’s three years ago since I first saw Roy Harper, the singer-songwriter folk rock guitarist. The man’s a genius. As well as being very witty. We upgraded our tickets at London’s Jazz Cafe so we had seats in the balcony restaurant. Moth and I found ourselves sitting at the table next to Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin’s guitarist, who is both

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • Zebra running detail 3

    Zebra running

    We were at Crater Lake game reserve near Naivasha, Kenya,in March 2010, a place where, with a guide, you can walk in the bush. We got up quite close to giraffe, eland, kongoni and lots of zebras. Moth took a sequence of photos of a zebra cantering past us. Moth’s very good at panning – swinging the camera round to

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  • wildebeest scratching

    In praise of wildebeest

    Some people think they’re ugly and stupid, but I think blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) are marvellous creatures. What stripes! Such lovely beards! And crazy tails! One of the reasons we went to East Africa last month was to see the wildebeest at the time when they were giving birth. A calf can be literally up and running alongside its mum

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  • Crossing the equator

    The equator is an imaginary line on the Earth’s surface equidistant from the north and south poles. Last month I crossed this line overland, the first time in all my travels I have ever done this. It’s silly really but I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was! We stopped at a roadside café, conveniently located just five

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • naivasha roses

    The terrible price of Kenyan flowers

    Not so long ago, roses were expensive. Now you can get six blooms for £4 at my local Tescos. The real cost of cheap flowers was revealed to me in all its horror in March 2010when we visited Kenya’s Lake Naivasha, a large freshwater lake in the Rift Valley, formerly home to a thriving eco-system, teeming with fish and birds,

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • Guitarist jeff beck

    Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton: Together and Apart

    Last night Moth, Rupert and I trekked down to east London to the O2 arena (the former milliennium dome) to see Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton on stage ‘Together and Apart’. Despite defying the rules of both alphabetical order and talent, Clapton was top of the bill on the hoardings and on the souvenir T shirts. It was clear even

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  • Vincent’s DNA exposed in a letter – the artist was prolific letter writer

    Note: The F and JH numbers in this blog are standard references used by van Gogh scholars to refer to specific works, rather like scientists use Latin names to refer to species. The Real Van Gogh: the Artist and his Letters Today, 29 January 2010, I went to see The Real Van Gogh: the Artist and his Letters exhibition at

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  • Van Gogh’s Letters: the books

    After 15 years of work, the Van Gogh Museum has published an astonishing six volume set of the complete letters of Vincent van Gogh.  Building on the groundbreaking work done by the late Jan Hulsker, the authors have set a standard in art publishing that it’s hard to see will be bettered. A more thorough piece of work is hard

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • With Gauguin in Brittany

    This year has been a bit of a Paul Gauguin year for me really. Here he is. ...

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • Condoms, education and partial vegetarianism

    According to new stats from the ONS, the UK's population is now more than 61million. This makes me sad. ...

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • Making a drypoint

    Making a drypoint: Still life in Eynsham

    I’ve just finished making a picture, called Still life in Eynsham, a portrait of the village where I live. I’m calling it Still life in Eynsham because that’s what it is: a series of elements fitted together to produce a pleasing arrangement in exactly the same way you would a still life of fruit, flowers or similar. I like the

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  • Lynyrd Skynyrd

    God bless Lynyrd Skynyrd

    On Thursday night we went to see Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd perform at Birmingham’s NIA.  Their heyday was the mid 1970s, during which they produced two of their best-loved songs, Sweet Home Alabama and Freebird. I confess I find all that long, flowing hair, cowboy boots and twangy, jangly insistent and riffy guitar absolutely irresistible. If you’re thinking “hang

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • New Zealand landscape

    New Zealand landscape

    New Zealand has two outstanding advantages. Firstly, it has a tiny population, only four million, a quarter of which live in Auckland, leaving huge swathes of land to farming and best of all, to wilderness. And that brings me to its second feature, its tear-jerkingly, breathtakingly, largely-unspoiled, gobsmackingly gorgeous landscape. Formed by volcanoes and carved by glaciers, the landscape leaves

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson