I was speaking to a friend recently and we were discussing Gerard Manley Hopkins, and I was reminded of the term ‘windhover’, otherwise known as a kestrel. Such an apt term, and I wanted to paint one. I’m enjoying the flying birds as I don’t especially like putting props in the paintings but many birds simply look odd standing on the ground. A kestrel is also well-known for its hovering capabilities so I wanted to paint one doing just that.

I found a generic hovering kestrel photo on Google images but it was a female, so small adjustments were made thanks my trusty Collins bird guide. I wasn’t sure how to do the underside of the wing as they are really quite striped but I feel these can make the painting overly fussy, so opted for a few delineating spots. I like how I have caught him mid-hover, although he does look rather like he’s dropped his keys…


As usual, he is painted in gouache on 30cm square Somerset paper.

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