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Thesis - Gyrfalcon
By windfalcon   |   Watch
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Published: June 14, 2009
© 2009 - 2019 windfalcon
This is the tenth and final in a series of ten paintings for my thesis, An Illustrative Exploration of Birds of Prey in History and Culture. Here I've explored the gyrfalcon in European falconry.

There was a strict social rank system when it came to falconry in medieval Europe. Peasants were only allowed sparrowhawks, and higher ranks were allowed 'greater' birds. The gyrfalcon, the largest and strongest of the falcons, was reserved for kings.

Watercolor on cold-press arches, about 9X11.7 inches
Image size
562x750px 228.43 KB
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Comments (26)
Volinfer's avatar
Volinfer|Hobbyist General Artist
I have to draw one of those someday. Unbelievably majestick burbs o:
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Gyrfalcon2's avatar
Gyrfalcons are my favorite bird! Your drawings are amazing!
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CandlelightCarnivore's avatar
Your paintings are very beautiful.
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longwing's avatar
Gorgeous! Perfect! Love the colours, they are bright but they have a mediaeval feel still. The hawk somehow looks friendly though, which is nice but usually I find gyrs look a bit scatty and frightened and insane, with their big liquid eyes...however it is not so unnatural an expression as to look out of context.

The ranking system is often cited and is a popular topic of conversation between falconers and the general public or people learning falconry. It can be traced back to the Boke of St Albans, which you must have cited. There are some doubts about its accuracy though and it may have been completely symbolic - some of the rankings make no sense (a vulture for an emperor? Vultures are rubbish falconry birds) and some were unobtainable; others were the same hawk (out of memory I think he mentions the loch falcon, the rock falcon and the peregrine or something like that...they are all the same hawk). I read a pretty good argument for it not being the case but can't remember where I read it. Might have been in Philip Glasier's book. Hope you got good marks, if your writing is as good as your painting skills you certainly deserve them!
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CrazyIdealist's avatar
Do you do any falconry yourself? I suppose it's expensive, but I always thought it would be a cool hobby to try...
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Slavky's avatar
Slavky|Professional Interface Designer
wickeeeeeed :heart: very realistic drawing!!!! good job!!! :)
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Vampyre-Lover's avatar
Beautiful Hawk!!!
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DutchOrca's avatar
DutchOrca|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Beautiful painting!
The falcon is spot on and instantly recognizable as a Gyr.
I love the medieval atmosphere of this, with the castle in the background.
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iNuclearToxicDreamer's avatar
Beautiful job! You really captured the coloration and proportions of the falcon. Excellent work. Hope you got good marks from your professor! YOU deserved it! :+fav:
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TNHawke's avatar
Yay! My favorite of the falcons. So beautiful.
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ZarineBashire's avatar
ZarineBashire|Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
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LovelyLadyGray's avatar
LovelyLadyGray|Professional Artisan Crafter
Truly amazing way to complete your thesis of birds of prey in watercolor. This is quite a lovely composition.
You're quite talented with doing all of the details on their feathers. It is a treat to learn from your artwork. :hug: :floating:

It takes me a week to complete one of my own watercolor paintings. I can do 4-5 watercolor paintings of flowers in one day.
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ChatonRose's avatar
ChatonRose|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Amazing picture!
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AlexisAthene's avatar
Awesome work! Gryfalcons're beautiful birds.
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Malbi88's avatar
A truly regal bird
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LyrebirdJacki's avatar
i read about the falconry ranks in the book "the snow falcon" which i found was pretty cool. this is a lovely painting, love his feathers
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VXthinkwinkXV's avatar
VXthinkwinkXV|Hobbyist General Artist
good work, especially with the shading on the glove. that's usually hard to do :)
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ikarus-exe's avatar
ikarus-exe|Professional Digital Artist
Gyrs are one of my favorites! Great rendering. I really wish I could do watercolor as well as you. :D
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Falcolf's avatar
Falcolf|Professional General Artist
Aww I didn't realize gyrfalcons were so cute :heart: brilliant job - it really does look quite royal with the grey and black plumage. :) Love the head!
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EmbryH's avatar
Great detail!
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Celyddon's avatar
Celyddon|Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Perfect!!! I love it!
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SlayerSyrena's avatar
SlayerSyrena|Professional General Artist
That is one gorgeous bird. I love the patterns on his feathers. I sure hope you got lots o' kudos from your professor on your thesis. It looks like you put a lot of labor and love into it.
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WarFalcon's avatar
WarFalcon|Hobbyist General Artist
Aww, cute bird! Very pretty and you did a wonderful job with all of them.
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