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See here for an introduction to the KYST project
KYST 05 Unpacking in dawn’s gloom, the fresh south-westerly bit into my hands. The wind, though cold, was invigorating and I quickly huddled under the shelter of my ‘M60’ giant brolly, and carried on where I had left off the week before.
As I sat and painted the emerging day’s light, a kestrel appeared as a black cross in the distance, hanging in the onshore wind over the grass and brush that bordered the sandy shore. The wind must have been perfect for the little bird as it managed to remain completely still, as if pinned to the sky, making constant small adjustments of its tail and the angle of wings. Then it would wheel around and take up a new position, a little closer towards where I was sitting. This went on for some time. Every now and then it would make an aborted dive, or a hooded crow would mob it momentarily. Soon, it was right over my head, completely oblivious to me, as I sat and sketched and sketched.
A connection with a bird like this is my ‘endgame’. By intently looking, following and drawing I become completely lost in the moment nothing exists other than the bird in its environment and its connection to my eye and my consciousness. It blows my mind to witness such a creature, battling in the wind, struggling to survive, perfectly evolved. By looking and drawing I raise the level of my own connection to the bird. Amazing… I’ve always had ‘a thing’ for kestrels anyway – it was actually the first bird I learnt to draw over 40 years ago…
Time flew and after the kestrel moved on, and after I had talked to TV2 Bornholm who were on their own journey around the island, I packed up and headed north towards Hasle. Heading into the harbor area, I stopped in the shelter of some trees and made a couple of sketches of a Herring Gull, sitting stoically in the freezing surf.
Walking around the deserted harbor area in Hasle, I wasn’t feeling ‘it’. II walked past the chimneys of the herring smokery, and read some information panels that described Hasle’s fishing past. Just a few decades ago Bornholm’s fishing industry was lucrative and coastal towns with a good harbor like Hasle did a roaring trade. But then, in the mid 80’s it collapsed through overfishing, and has never really recovered. Hasle has since reinvented itself as a tourist destination. It lacks the charm of the prettier East coast towns, but seems somehow more honest. It certainly wasn’t charming today, as the cold wind and lack of sun presented a rather depressing prospect.
I struggled with the straight lines and concrete of the harbor. Once again I cowered under the M60 and looked for birds again. Some cormorants were resting on the harbor arms, throwing some amazing shapes.
Time was running out and I walked back along the harbor arm and then onward to the marina, where rows of new smart terraced summerhouses sit overlooking rows of small sailboats. I looked around for inspiration, never a good idea, and wrestled with the familiar question of what and why. I want my paintings to reflect my day’s experience, but I also want them rooted in the place where they are created. But I’m not making a bloody guidebook. I finished off with a wide angled view of the darkening clouds, tinged with orange, and behind which the invisible sun set. Hasle’s strange hodgepodge of a silhouette, with grain silos, diving platforms and boats of all types, glowered silently below.
Weather report = overcast. 1 – 3 °C. Wind 5 – 8 m/s from Southwest. Visibility: Good. Hours of sunshine: nada
Lessons learned – need to enjoy being in the towns more
Stops with the M60 = 3
Kilometres walked = 5.70km
Day lasted = 9 hours, 03 minutes
Birds seen and heard = 22 species (2 new ones = running total 40)
Other stuff = a possible rock pipit amongst the rocks. Could have been a meadow pipit. I love wrens, had no idea there were so many of them on the coast.
People talked to = 2
In my head = Chess moves. Human evolution. Should I go out and get drunk on Friday night? My foot black and blue and sore because I fell during Floorball on Monday. 10km race on sunday, can I run it?