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About Deviant Willem van der MerweMale/South Africa Groups :iconliving-earth: Living-Earth
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Greater Flamingos by WillemSvdMerwe
Greater Flamingos
The Greater Flamingo, Phoenicopterus roseus, is the largest and most widely-distributed flamingo species, living in Africa, Europe and Asia.  It can reach 6'/183 cm in height.  Flamingos feed upside down, filtering small animals and plants from the water with bristles called lamellae in their big beaks.  These flamingos breed in large numbers in only a few sites, in Southern Africa their main breeding regions being Lake Etosha in Namibia and Lake Kgalakgadi in Botswana.  These are large shallow lakes in the middle of dry desert regions, and only have water in years of good rainfall.  In such remote locations, flamingos breed in their thousands.  But they don't manage to raise chicks successfully every time.  Flamingos live very long ... 50 years in the wild, often more than 60 years in captivity, one in the Adelaide Zoo having been noted as reaching the age of 83!  Pencil drawing tweaked and coloured with Photoshop.
Presbyornis pervetus by WillemSvdMerwe
Presbyornis pervetus
Presbyornis, the 'Elder bird', was an amazing long-legged member of the Anseriformes, the groups today constituting ducks, geese, swans and screamers.  Presbyornis was closer to the ducks than to the screamers, but still different enough from both to be classified in its own family, the Presbyornithidae.  At first when its fossils were found, it was thought to be a flamingo, but then its head with its duck-like bill was found.  For a while people speculated that it might form a link between the Anseriforms and the shorebirds, but now it is thought to be a proper Anseriform, and shorebirds are thought not at all to be closely related to them.  Presbyornis reached a height of about 1.5 m.  They lived about 62-55 million years ago.  Fossils of them were found in America (including, like the ancient ratite-relative Pseudocrypturus…, from the Green River formation) and probably also in Mongolia.  They appear to have lived beside lakes in large colonies, and likely used their bills to filter algae and small animals from water.  Pencil and pen drawing, coloured with Photoshop 
Messelirrisor halcyrostris by WillemSvdMerwe
Messelirrisor halcyrostris
Messelirrisor halcyostris was a tiny bird that lived in Europe in the Eocene, around 47 million years ago.  Excellent fossils of it were found in the Messel Pit, Germany.  Messelirrisor was a relative of modern hoopoes and wood-hoopoes, and somewhat more distantly, hornbills!  Back then these were still fairly unspecialized forest birds, probably insect-eating.  These birds and relatives of the modern groups that include the Hornbills, Hoopoes, Kingfishers, Rollers and Bee-Eaters, were predominant in the forests at that time, while the birds that 'rule and are most diverse today, the Passeriformes or the songbirds, only became dominant later on.  Messelirrisor had a slightly curved bill and its fossils show black bars on its tail feathers.  It was only about 10 cm/4" in length.  Charcoal drawing coloured with Photoshop.
Pseudocrypturus cercanaxius by WillemSvdMerwe
Pseudocrypturus cercanaxius
This ancient bird lived about 50 million years ago in North America.  It was an ancient member of the same group that the ostriches, cassowaries, emus, rheas and kiwis belong to!  Those birds all can't fly, but Pseudocrypturus could.  Indeed, the ancestors of all those flightless birds must have dispersed to all the different places where those birds are found today, and then, independently all became flightless!  But there is still one group of birds today that belong to that group and that can still fly - the Tinamous of South and Central America!  Pseudocrypturus was indeed somewhat tinamou-like, indeed its scientific name means 'false tinamou with a useless tail'.  Its pygostyle (fused tail vertebrae) was very small so it would have had a tiny tail at most.  It lived in a warm, forested lakeside environment.  Its fossils were found in the Green River Formation in Wyoming and Utah.  It was not the ancestor of modern ostriches and the other large flightless birds - that ancestor probably lived quite a few million years earlier - but it might still have been very similar to something like Pseudocrypturus.  Charcoal drawing, coloured with Photoshop.
Copepteryx hexeris by WillemSvdMerwe
Copepteryx hexeris
Copepteryx was a Plotopterid - an extinct family of ocean-living birds, that were somewhat like a mix between a cormorant and a penguin!  They had small but functional wings - they couldn't fly, but used the wings for swimming as penguins do.  But they also had large, webbed feet.  Plotopterids were very large, ranging from about the size of a large cormorant - a metre/yard or so - to a length of 2 m/6'7"!  They lived in the north Pacific, Copepteryx having been found in Japan.  They originated in the Eocene and lived until the mid-Miocene.  At the same time as them, there existed similar large flightless swimming birds in the southern Hemisphere - the giant penguins, which reached a similar size!  The giant penguins and the plotopterids died out around the same time.  The reason might be because that was the time when seals and dolphins started to spread and diversify, taking over their ecological niche.  While the smaller penguins survived so the family still exists today, there were no small plotopterids that survived and so the family is entirely extinct today.  Charcoal drawing, tweaked and coloured with Photoshop.

Hi all!  I would like to tell you about my present project … I’m writing a book about bodybuilding!  I’ve been into bodybuilding since 1988 and have seen the good, the bad and the ugly sides of it.  My book is called ‘Sane Bodybuilding’ and it is about avoiding the mental and physical excesses that are now so prevalent in professional bodybuilding.  I want to help ‘save’ what I consider a very rewarding activity.  It is not for high level competitive bodybuilders, but for ordinary people, men and women, who just want to improve their own bodies in a natural and healthy way.  So, the book is a nonsense-free primer, a holistic system that will teach you how to gain muscle size and strength, and lose fat, while also attaining fitness and great health, without the need for drugs or a training-obsessed lifestyle.  It’s also about saving you money, avoiding a variety of scams.  The training and dietary advice is simple and practical.  The end goal is having a healthy body and mind.  It’s about achieving realistic – and REAL – results, and appreciating them.  It’s about increasing both the length and the quality of your life! 


The book has about 265 pages of text (at present … I’m still adding bits to it here and there), and will also have more than a hundred illustrations, depicting exercises, stretches and poses.  I discuss a variety of strategies relating to training and diet, and also aspects of psychology.  I warn about pitfalls and obsessions and speak about the importance of a positive, grounded attitude.  There’s guidance for beginning, intermediate and advanced trainees.  While the book is about general muscle-, strength- and health-building, there is advice for getting into more specific activities: competitive bodybuilding, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, Fitness and Figure competition, and Strongman/Strongwoman competition.  These all having their risks, I speak about how to get involved in them while still maintaining health and sanity.  A big part is finding reputable organizations … ideally where there is a strong drug-free ethos. 


Basically I’m trying to cram together as much useful and directly relevant (for ‘regular people’) information as possible, in a single book, which I’m going to try to get out as cheaply as possible.  There is a lot of good stuff available online but the typical person is going to have to do a lot of surfing and clicking to get it all and will encounter a vast amount of nonsense in the process as well.  So I’m trying to do what I can to cut through all the crud that’s out there.  I’m thinking of e-book format and possibly printed as well … I do have some connections in the bodybuilding world so I’m really going to try to actually get it published!  But … for anyone here who’s interested … I can email you a copy, no charge!  At present the book is still in a rough stage and I’ll appreciate any and all feedback, but it’s already pretty complete in terms of content (except for the pics, which I’m still working on).

I intend to share the pics here, when I’m done with them.



WillemSvdMerwe's Profile Picture
Willem van der Merwe
South Africa
I was born in 1972, Pretoria, South Africa. I started painting and drawing at the age of 5. I stopped doing that for a while to study some other fields, but recently I've been getting back into it. I love wildlife and nature but I also paint or draw people. I also paint and draw fantasy creatures or scenes, as well as extinct animals.

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guidodeo Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Your gallery is amazing. Congrats!Clap 
Alvro Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
has echo muchos trabajos increíbles :la: perdón por haber dejado de seguirte :icondragonxpplz:
UAkimov09 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2015
Hello ! My Congratulations to You and also my Respect ! Also my Greetings to You and to Your country South Africa Flag of South Africa ! :)

I Dont know what add i very like Nature too and do support ''Greenpeace'' orgz. many years.

My Congratulations to You with yours Great , Perfect , Excellent , Natural , Alive , Creative , Interesting , Wonderful , Beautiful , Enjoyable , Calm , Unique and Accurate artworks ! :)

My Congratulations to You with yours Very Nice and High skills ! : )

Good luck to You in your practice and also in your life ! I Wishing to You that all yours dreams will come true ! :)

Nature , Animals , Plants and Bugs in Heart.
CyberCorn-Entropic Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2015
You're welcome.  You have some nice work. =)
StitchesAndThePen Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2015  Hobbyist
I absolutely love your work!
WillemSvdMerwe Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2015
Aw thanks very much!
StitchesAndThePen Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2015  Hobbyist
No problem!
gigi50 Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer

:icontftdwplz: :iconsomehugsplz:
and Your Welcome :hug: 
Fantastic work and gallery :winner:

wufus Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2015
Do you like my art? Can you watch me?
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