Gemma runs on, tail wagging, half in, half out of the undergrowth, waits for you, runs on again…so exciting to be out. Too close this time, the woodcock rises, silently banking through the slim trunks and away, out of sight. Maybe a winter visitor from Sweden, maybe one of our own, Gemma doesn’t care, she’s off round the corner, tail wagging.
This happened many years ago, but is still a fresh memory. With the help of a few sketches, and similar sightings since, I’m hoping to make a successful picture of that moment. The watercolour below is an early attempt at capturing the dynamic angles and blurred glimpse of the bird as it shoots away, into the late afternoon winter gloom.
The owl in the lamplight
Driving East along the A13, late on a December night, a barn owl flies across the car
from left to right suddenly – appearing not white, but bright orange in the lamplight.
Into the dark of the marshes beyond, between the posts, above the oncoming headlights.
Its necessity interacting with convenience.
I made a quick visual note that evening, intending to develop an image of this casual
but enforced interaction between nature and our electric light washed world.
For my first two attempts at making the image I used ink and wax. The loud, rude lamps and the darkness beyond are all expressed with atmosphere, rather than detail, but I feel some work is still needed to resolve some compositional issues. The wet tarmac, lateness of the hour, the energy and the ‘surprise’ all need to show in the finished image.