Thursday, 4 September 2014

DRAWING FROM 1500 FEET

A warm sunny evening and the storm was moving to the west of the airfield it could change its mind at any moment. Chris SS ran through his final pre-flight checks on Charlie Romeo and spoke to the Tower.

Then we were off down the runway, up into the sky, our Piper Warrior was peeling off towards northwest of Buckinghamshire.

This was a flight we had talked about many times and now it was happening.

At 1500 feet up and climbing a little higher I look down on tiles of yellow and green a patchwork that rises towards the Ridgeway to the east.
 I began drawing, as this was always part of the agreement. Soon I gets used to the confines of the cockpit and begin to develop a special connection with the landscape so far below. It is levelled and simplified, as if wallpaper pattern book has been strewn beneath us.

With the harvest nearly in there were many lines and wrinkles across the yellow fields.
Lines and winkles across yellow fields 

Right, the Spires of Waddesdon Manor 


And surprises! all of a sudden, like some fable, the silver grey towers and spires of Waddesdon Manor wave to us.
The sun becomes lower; lanes, ditches, trees and streams cast deep shadows. Villages and towns look upwards, deeply tanned by the setting sun.

On landing I unquestionably can’t wait to go up again, as soon as possible. Nearly two weeks on I remain intoxicated (a kind of air sickness?) my mind full of questions: What will the sea look like? The shape of rivers and their estuaries? The Solent? The South Downs?

This drawing process is tilting the familiar on its side or smoothing a landscape out with a rolling pin. Arguably my drawing might not be the same again.