This print is based on a series of sketches I did shortly after observing a gyrfalcon hunting north of Wandering River (a couple of hours drive north of Edmonton). As often happens when I work from my photo references, the first few sketches were way too realistic. It took a few iterations before I worked out how to show the essence of the falcon, how it just rode the air so effortlessly, dancing above the bushes and small trees.
After some absentminded sketching one day dealing with the feathers, the method of the disconnected component parts of the bird just sort of jumped out. After a series of refinements, here is the first print. From the initial sketches I decided on a series of four flight poses. The title of this first one is “Steep Turn”, as when a sudden turn is made to avoid a tree top. The remaining ones in the Gyrfalcon series on the way are “Reach”, “Lift”, the last one in this series will be “Glide”. I look forward to hanging a few different combinations of the completed set. I can see it especially good looking in a square arrangement, or as a linear series on a longer wall.
Here it is in just such a setting: