Tuesday, 17 August 2010

out of shot

The guns were out a few days' ago, heralding the start of the shooting season. By the sound of it, there was a drive not far from the shelter, so when I went up yesterday late afternoon I was half expecting to find some damage. Thankfully there was none. It was quiet; Cross Fell was slightly misty set against a milky sky. No strong shadows or distant colours. The ground and the air smelt fresh, more savoury than sweet. This evening seemed more masculine than feminine.
I took some time observing the tree/earth/water interface and made some colour exercises. Having chosen not to bring my camera, I was forced away from the comfort of the lens and the instant image. I'm beginning to find that observation without drawing, although a lot less intensive, is still a valuable exercise and informs my practice back home, as illustrated in these paintings above and below. Visual memory is an important attribute for a visual artist, but it's one that needs regular exercise, particularly with age.
As I lay in the hammock looking up at the trees against the sky, two kestrels flew into sight embroiled in a mid-flight argument. One settled on the branch immediately above me. I wasn't keeping particularly still and the bird paid me no attention, and although I was slightly concerned that I was in line-of-fire if it chose to release its bowels, it did feel a privilege to be sharing the same environment so easily. It stayed for several minutes. I played the strings of the hammock and I could feel the vibrations run through both trees. I'm sure the bird would have felt them. The thought struck me that I could record these and other sounds and assemble them into a digital composition. It would be another way of expressing the harmony that I often experience here.

I attempted some more drawing, but the strength of the sun had waned as the evening came, and without a wind the midges were feeding on my face and upper torso. They were such a distraction that I gave-up, packed-up and walked home with my ears burning and my wrists and elbows itching.

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