An old man passed me as I sat on the harbour side. “You painting? Ach! Just painting seagulls.”
I am watching and drawing kittiwakes nesting in clefts up the castle wall.
On the top of the castle and on roofs of houses and balancing on the wind are the seagulls, herring gulls. They are watchful and waiting. Sometimes kittiwake chicks fall. Sometimes kittiwake nests are unguarded.
The herring gulls also have mouths to feed. They nest on rocks outside the harbour, beaten by the sea. Their chicks are larger, more mobile than those of kittiwakes, small downy dinosaurs on their scaly legs, stretching their nascent wings.
These were drawn at the end of the week-long seabird painting course. I had changed my approach, working larger size and with charcoal to speedily mark down shape and tone of moving birds. I was trying now to watch for a number of seconds, close my eyes and retain the image and draw from that, rather than attempt to copy directly.