Monday, May 12, 2014

Northern gannets

I've had a bad internet connection for the last week or more that slowed to a creep over the weekend. Fortunately a technician came out today and was able to finally repair it so I'm back up to speed again. It almost reminded me of dial up speeds.  Remember those?  Yikes!

A couple of years ago I took a trek to the Bird Rock at Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve where thousands of northern gannets nest.  One of the largest nesting colonies in North America.  The birds are magnificent, flying over the ocean, sailing past on huge wings and gathered, covering every inch of rock on nests of grasses and fishing nets and ropes found in the ocean and on the shore.

I did paint a gannet  in flight and enjoyed the process of finding form and feathers.  I was revisiting my trip in photos there and zoomed in on a section of an image where a line of gannets nested, each with a different post and it got my mind thinking about painting it.  As I often do, I created a study to help me make up my mind.  Pen and ink, with watercolour wash sealed the deal so I think this may be a future painting.

I did this in a Stilman & Birn sketchbook in the alpha series, 9" x 6".  I love how forgiving the spine is to bend so I can draw across the page and how accomodating it is to washes of colour.  It ripples a little but not much.  I'm working my way through the series of S & B sketchbooks to see which ones I like best.

Let me share a little of the experience with the gannets. There are lots of other birds that call it home there too:  Thousands of gulls, razorbills, common murres, black-legged kittiwakes, northern gannets, and double-crested and great cormorants nest here. Its where 20,000 scoters, oldsquaw, harlequin, dovekies, thick-billed murres, and kittiwakes winter.

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