Self-portrait through glass.
Inkzoo is my wildlife observation seat usually situated at the windows of an urban Victorian garden flat, a garden that has a faint smell of salt waves when the winter breeze is northeasterly, or honeysuckle in the summer, or strong musky fox when they’ve been investigating the windowsill, a garden that borrows the landscape beyond to give the impression of life in a large old woodland.
If I’m isolated indoors, then I immerse myself in this windowseat world. I observe the wildlife through a frame of set dimensions, and I listen to the song, but its me living in the zoo, where these birds and animals come close to look at me. I keep the window open in all weathers; to close it would seal me in, so sometimes the wildlife ventures in beside me. This experience has given me a heightened interest in studying and re-designing appropriate surroundings and architecture for enabling vital indoor-outdoor freedom.
Whenever I escape from captivity, I’m on a hunt for accessible routes around the coast, into the water and onto the water. Sailing, skiffing, swimming, shell surveying, sea glass gathering, seabird watching, seal watching, whale watching, skull measuring, pollution checking and – inevitably – litter picking. I paint fragments of this coastal activity, and segments of that liminal stretch of shoreline that is sometimes sea, sometimes land, and always a history-rich uneasy imbalance of humans and nature.
Indoors, the more I have to stay still, the further I travel in my imagination. Outdoors the quieter I am, the more detail I see and hear and smell, the more I attune my pattern recognition. I know these plants, these trees, these birds, these squirrels, the meteorological changes across this slice of sky.
My windowseat nature blog is a seasonal diary. There’s always something happening in the garden, in the sky, in the woodlands, in the harbour, along the tidal shores and out on the water towards the islands. In Inkzoo I have created my own urban coastal art windowsill residency; observing, photographing, painting, recording, writing and communicating more of these glimpses and studies. I share some here along with the sights, discoveries and challenges from other shorelines and island residencies, sea squirrels permitting.