Thursday, June 16, 2011

Artwork--"Kiss the Sky"

It was not my intention to get this piece done this week but it has been quiet around here for once and I found myself out in the studio more than usual. I realized yesterday that I was going to be able to finish it, and I'm happy that I'll have it for my show this weekend in East Grand Rapids.

"Kiss the Sky", approx. 16" x 6", framed to 20" x 10"

"Kiss the Sky" is a portrait of a Peregrine Falcon. This particular bird is a member of a falconry club (I am sorry but I don't remember their name) who usually have birds at CraneFest in October. I was really taken with this bird, and was thrilled when he dropped his wings down, almost as if mantling. From this angle I imagine him flying, hence the title.

When I was in the Porcupine Mountains in the U.P. of Michigan in 2008 I watched a Peregrine chase a small bird in off the water. I was sitting on a rock on the shore just after sunrise, eating a bowl of oatmeal, when I saw these two specs coming toward me. When I realized what I was watching my jaw dropped, my spoon suspended half way to my mouth.

This exhausted song bird (I never did see what species) was fluttering towards shore like a wounded bat, and the falcon was just behind it. The falcon rose up above its prey 15 or 20 feet, then swooped down at it. The little bird jigged just in the nick of time. This was repeated two more times as the birds neared shore, the whole thing seeming to play out in slow motion. Finally they reached shore and the worn out passerine made it safely into a shrub. The falcon found a perch nearby and sat for five minutes or so before flying off down the shore.

I have no idea where they came from or how long the chase lasted but it was spectacular to watch. It is seared into my memory perhaps because I did not have my camera with me, and so I sat and watched and soaked it in. I was glad to get such wonderful shots of this bird to work from, and honor that memory.

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