artist statement

Why did I start painting birds .... ?
To try and come up with a clear answer is no easy task . I remember being fascinated by blue tits on the garden feeders from my childhood home . I must have been about 4 or 5 ?... Condensation from my breath slowly forming a foggy barrier on the cold glass which I had my nose firmly pressed against . Trying to get clear indelible views of these manic little birds, their raised crests and nipping gestures , squabbling over dominance of the feeders like the frenzied group of small boys in blue, white and yellow football strips. All trying to get a kick of that ball !!

I had paper, pencil and awe.... My efforts I remember left me feeling frustrated and beguiled by the mastery of illustration in the very basic garden bird book that I had in my hands. But most importantly the urge to capture their activity their particular character never left .

The subjects changed but the fascination for these relics of a dynasty far greater than ours never Waned. “I can remember vividly as a child standing in awe at the Swifts that passed over the tops of our heads in the playground. I dwelled in a bubble of fascination as these wonderful speedsters hurtled above. My peers ran around oblivious to these aerial travellers from Africa. I would run around too but I was the one who stopped, looked up, and drew what I saw. Maybe this is what it is to be a painter. It's an itch that needs to be scratched a compulsion, some would say curse , Robert Bateman quoted "

“I have to paint the natural world. It has never been a hobby. It's not relaxing - writers and Athletes would say the same. Since I was twelve, I have always painted in fact it can be a labor, a labor of love if you like.”

I would agree with him on this it's sometimes not a comfortable experience , one feels compelled by the subject like a drug I suppose. I felt it much more as a young man than I do now. Some people refer to it as inspiration , but for me inspiration isn't really the right term. I have found "inspiration" if you like in admiring those things that leave an impression on me , interest me. The particular shape of a falcon is one of the undying ones for me . They are quite simply perfect in my eyes , you could not better it's design.but it goes beyond their physical shape it's a quality they possess, an aura they give off of wildness of untouchability . I cannot pinpoint with certainty where this admiration sparked from. But spark it did and they as a muse have been a constant for me .

No quote sums it up better than Roger Tory Peterson 1948.

"Man has emerged from the shadows of antiquity with a Peregrine on his wrist. It's dispassionate brown eyes, more than those of any other bird have been witness to the struggle for civilisation, from the squalid tents on the steppes of Asia thousands of years ago, to the marble halls of European Kings in the seventeenth century. "

As a boy just getting a good representation of an animals appearance was satisfaction enough. I'd pour for hours over the beautiful paintings of D M Reid Henry in eagles Hawks Falcons of the world. Immerse myself in daydreaming to have these wonderful raptors in front if me for real , even on my gloved hand.

You can't dream about seeing these
Wonders of the bird world without also falling under the spell of falconry. So like symbiosis the Art and Falconry fed from each other and so I became what I am today.