1 July 2013

Bass Rock Gannet

I joined the Seabird Drawing Course again! It was as amazing as last time, or even more! I had been looking forward to it since it finished last year.

When I arrived at the campsite, I already found a familiar face, Greg Pool, one of the tutors and I was welcomed by all the other campers. I can not explain how happy I was when I entered the hotel and saw some familiar faces from a year ago! It was incredible to feel at home at this amazing place with all the amazingly talented people.

From the very first day, we went on to the Bass Rock, where it snows in summer. The millions of gannets were there calling, fighting, sleeping and preening to each others as they were last year. But because of the late spring, we didn't see any chicks. Parents were still incubating their egg.


I love going back to the same place and doing the same thing. Because I know what to expect and have some more knowledge about it, I start to see things that I miss at first. Since I read part of Bryan Nelson's The Atlantic Gannet to write my picture book idea, Snow in Summer, I was thinking of their habitat and motions with meanings rather than just a beautiful, incredible scene or postures to draw.

"When you draw gannets there, you have to think about the energy of Bass Rock itself. Gannets are merely tiny things flying about on its surface," Mr. Busby was saying. To feel the energy and try to include it in the works, you have to be out there in the field. And maybe that is why sketches from life are often stronger than those works made in the studio.

The second day on the Bass, it got windier and windier. Gannets were flying and enjoying the wind. But because the normal boat couldn't come close to the Bass Rock, we had to be rescued by a rib. And since even the rib couldn't stop by the rock, we had to jump on to the rib one by one when it came closer. But it is this wind that allows gannets to nest on this island.

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