A defining experience of any visitor to the wilderness of North or Mid-Wales is that of a first visitation of the RAF. It is of course the noise that first greets you, and as the thing passes, the explosive crunch of the air being rent apart. The interaction between this, the landscape, and its birds is the subject of this painting.

Mach Loop - painting of a Raven and RAF Jet in the Welsh mountains J A Elcock (2017)
The Mach Loop (2017)

I understand that The Mach Loop is an affectionate and clever pun on the training missions RAF pilots undertake around the valleys of Machynlleth (‘Mach’ by locals). To witness the planes at eye level from the sides of the Dulas and Dyfi valleys is quite remarkable, despite the grim nature of these machines.

However the Raven is the bird that I find epitomises the experience of these valleys best in winter, the Red Kite of Powys usually found at lower elevations in its coastal hunting grounds. The orange mountain is Mynydd Fron-felen whose charcoal and sienna washes link the rain and the earth so characteristic of Wales. The black jet is an eerie yet thrilling counterpoint. The three are one.

This painting was completed in the winter of 2017 as artist-in-residence at Stwdio Maelor, Corris.

Acrylic on canvas, 60x60cm