There is a stillness and calm that pervades one in the gentle art of observation, especially when watching furtive, skittish creatures or flighty, capricious birds, so as to stay with them in their habitat as long as they will allow.
This cormorant sat on the bayside for more than half an hour with me – occasionally stretching his wings to dry or his neck to investigate, but otherwise remaining still and centred, as was I.
Returning to draw him in my studio was a joy – not only had I been able to see so much of his form and colour – but the quiet that descends in the act of recording, on paper, one of the glories of the natural world is a truly meditative experience that creates a sense of tranquillity and peace.
Even though one’s own creative act falls short of the original, the introspection, contemplation, consideration, and reconsideration of the natural form can be transformative and transporting. Contemplating the natural world, through one’s own creative endeavour, highlights for me the extraordinary planet which we have the privilege to inhabit, and the responsibility for its diversity and beauty humanity must assume.
Illustration and words by Catriona Arcamone