“Life in the Clouds” is a painting which started as a doodle using the Procreate App on my iPad. I think my subconscious dragged up a view out of my bedroom window on a summer day, swallows and swifts swooping through the clouds and then imposed my desire to be amongst them. The photo here is not the best but I will get around to posting a better reproduction of it on my website eventually.
I spent a lot of time in the evenings around the age of 11 drawing hawks and falcons, attracted by their beauty and dangerous power after finding a book about them in the library. There weren’t many of these birds around then because of persecution and the effects of DDT, maybe that made them more fascinating. Last night I came across “H is for Hawk – a new chapter” https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09b68wyon BBC 2. Helen MacDonald loves Goshawks with a passion and was training a new bird. I feel the love of that wild freedom, but I’ve always been a little bit uncertain about falconry and keeping birds. Is it any worse than keeping any other creatures? I’ve felt uncomfortable and upset when seeing birds of prey in some falconry centres, tied to perches near the ground and sometimes throwing themselves a cage door, but I do love to see them so close. Helen obviously loves her bird, “Lupin” and I can definitely see the attraction of having a creature so wild trust you. She trained her first goshawk after she lost her father. This is what inspired me to write today. I lost my father-in-law at the end of November after a long-time suffering with multiple myeloma. I realise so far I have dealt with this the same way I dealt with my own fathers’ death 25 years ago, throwing myself into dealing with practicalities, I have felt a little detached but now am starting to feel a darkness lifting from me. Watching birds fly across an open sky, having a sense of joy and freedom, just watching the beauty and magic. Time to put some food out for the poor things and de-ice the bird bath.
Kathryn Bell is an artist and photographer. She knows some stuff and wants to learn more which she'd like to share to help us all improve together. She's got a degree in Environmental Chemistry but promises not to bang on about the environment too much!