Very many of Dad’s big landscapes put the viewer on a high point looking down, often looking across from one side of a valley to the other, or in the case of the many rock pool paintings, looking vertically down.
Here we are so high above the landscape looking down that we have no view of sky at all and yet, with raptor-sharp eyesight we can see from the base of the trees below us to the details of the fields in the far corner.
Cloud shadows cross field boundaries in the distance as easily as the birds in the buoyant air.
In his book Looking at Birds, Dad devoted a whole page to studies of kestrels hovering in a wind – keeping head and eyes still with contortions of wing and body, similar to our bird here. Is it concentrating on some mouse or vole at the base of that tree?
In Land Marks and Sea Wings he wrote, “Sometimes I imagine what the land I am walking over would look like from a thousand feet or more… Can one imagine landscape from a bird’s perspective? What would be important to a lapwing or a hunting kestrel? What is the food potential of a flooded field, the threat of an earth-moving machine?… So often a flash of sunlight or the unexpected arrival of a bird or animal can give a new meaning to the familiar.”