For three days running I perched on the narrow ridges atop steep spurs of rock running out from St Abbs Head into the sea. The cliffs below and facing me and the tops of isolated stacks were carpeted with nesting birds. The upper airs were torn by kittiwakes looping in and up to their mates. Below, the stubby auks, guillemots and razorbills, with fast wings, flew in and out from sea surface to cliff face. There was constant, compelling noise, the rising and falling crescendo of the guillemots’ harsh croak, the kittewake’s onomatopoeic greetings as they returned to the nest and the threatening cackling of the sweeping watchful herring gulls.
This was my opening sketch, in pencil on cartridge paper. I was seated awkwardly looking along the side of a rocky spur, close enough the draw partly by eye, partly using the telescope.