Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Pushing myself forward now, the Sun's coming up and Drawing at 6:30am!

The view from our cottage window down the Hetton valley is truly beautiful this morning, Dovecote field in front of us is thronging with young pheasant poults, field hares and a few adult pheasants too.
A cock pheasant in all his resplendent colours is guarding his harem. His regal pose, with upright stance, his head and neck stretched way above the other birds commands instant respect. There is a sense of piety in the way he looks, especially because of his striking reverential white dog collar surrounding his neck. Like the village parson, overseeing his flock, perhaps even giving his morning sermon? This is far too anthropocentric I know, but one does wonder!

I find it incredibly hard not to believe that certain species of animals are able to intercommunicate with one another, especially herbivores. There is a sense of sharing in mother nature's glory on the morning like today which is tangible and palpable.

The remnants of wispy mist rise slowly from the distant hills and valley basins. A quick sketch before breakfast sets me into a good mood for the rest of the day and I've started to write some further ideas down to speculatively think about representational images from the Peregrine's perspective and "the Peregrine's story".

Thinking about the clouds and the free movement of the summer swallows, I positioned myself speculatively above them or at least floating in parallel with them. I imagined how it might look from 3000 feet, as according to Baker peregrines often glide and rise on the thermal air currents to that sort of height. The classic towering cumulus clouds nearby would appear lower on the horizontal plane, whereas distant clouds would appear higher on the horizontal plane as one would be above them. This would be the reverse view that we as humans have from ground level.

A suggestion by Rowan and Richard a few weeks ago to renew some of my thoughts and remove images of the Peregrine itself has been playing on my mind. Critically thinking through what a Peregrine may see as an important object in its day-to-day activities, I feel that the inclusion of other peregrines, and particularly when in the United Kingdom, the breeding grounds of peregrines, then it necessarily follows that encounters with either the Falcon's mate, the Tercel (the male); or alternatively for the tercel to see the Falcon (the female) will occur frequently. It is perfectly appropriate therefore to include images of other peregrines and also their chicks.

This is led me to think about some speculative drawings of chicks feeding? I'm also thinking further about views from the Peregrine's scrapes too. My plan is to climb some nearby crags which are perfect Peregrine nesting points to try and find primary source material.


  • The inclusion of Peregrine images in my book is absolutely verified now after thinking about this deeply. So too are parts of Peregrine anatomy of close-ups, both of the viewing Peregrine's anatomy and equally, of their mates, chicks or siblings.
  • I need to try and find some primary source images and real live views of steep cliffs and craggy outcrops and spend some time creating rough sketches that can then be digitised back in the studio.  There are plenty of spots nearby to do this so weather permitting, this will be a little expedition and adventure over the next few weeks.
  • Breeding season for peregrines is now completely over, most of the birds having fledged and probably returned to their northern hunting grounds through June and July, so the chance of seeing young juveniles this year has gone. 
  • Nevertheless, there is substantial video available from online web cams, particularly of city peregrines and their chicks. I need to make some enquiries and research around copyright before I potentially use these images as secondary sources, nevertheless, with a bit of imagination, I should be able to develop sufficient drawings that are completely independent.
  • I'm going to increase the level of my blogs a little more over the next few weeks to help with my clarity of thought, as I find that writing is particularly important to my practice.
  • As I temporarily reduced and even suspended publication of blogs during the last four weeks or so, during the academic quiet period to allow my tutors to have some breathing space during undergraduate degree marking and also during their marking and review time for ourselves.
  • I feel that it is acceptable to restart the weekly frequency of these again. And publish the backlog that I have been saving up too. I hope this meets with their approval and doesn't overload them of course!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Re-cap on the week's work, but feeling pretty down with myself still.

Back home now for a couple of days before heading back up to a new cottage. The last week has been really difficult for me, even though I made it an intention at the beginning of the week not to worry too much, nor to be anxious about production, and just to take some time out!

Doing nothing is very difficult for me, and with being in a depressed mood to start with since the presentation, which I feel I messed up completely last week, all I've managed to do is wallow in some rather dark thoughts, which have translated into the darker side of peregrines outlook on life.

This has manifested itself through drawings of dead prey creatures, dead rats & mice and especially a desire to draw Peregrine favourites like pigeons and pheasants!

I found a dead dove/rock-pigeon on the dirt track next to our cottage, and although I think it was shot as vermin by the local game-keeper, it nevertheless got me thinking and wanting to draw it.

Turning the carcass over, I realised that the entry and exit wounds would individually look quite similar to the strike wounds of a bird of prey, so in a way, the macabre find was actually very useful.

In thinking about this though, and coupling it with some of the recommendations that Dr Bailey and Richard Mulhearn kindly offered, may be the slightly alternative view becomes a self-reflection of the peregrines daily dalliance with life-and-death?

Having also thought considerably about making some sort of installation work, whilst I believe it is achievable to some degree, I am now wondering if it is, in fact, a cohesive output? Having thought about this for the last week, I've decided to postpone any kind of installation work until after my submission date of 1 September. I believe that such an installation would actually detract from the work that I've already been building upon, and the suggestion to focus on my book and build and expand upon this, together with much more drawing makes far more sense to me.


  • Still, lots to do with regards to drawings and writing, but if I keep the focus of these next three or four weeks and make time to draw whenever I can then at least I have a chance of creating a robust and professional artefact is a much bigger book (page number -wise).
  • Thinking now about the critical reflective summary, I need to create a framework again for the production of the CRS and create some scaffolding headings to start working with.
  • Next week is going to be another busy week with various jobs that need to be completed in the cottage to make it watertight and bug proof.  I am sure my priorities will no doubt be dictated through those, but I need to ensure that each spare moment can be used for reflection and be drawing too.