Graeme Roach moved to Milton Keynes in 1990. The drawing Long Stretch was created specifically for MK Calling 2020. While Roach worked, this Canadian Goose was quite content to pose and preen itself by the side of the lake at Mount Farm Park, Bletchley. Its form, while architectural in the strong arch shape of its extended wing, also revealed a complex pattern of feathers which became a focus of the drawing. The use of black colouring pencil proved effective not only in capturing the strength of the bird, but also allowed the layering of texture and tone to communicate the softness of the plumage.
Milton Keynes encourages a wide variety of wildlife through its lakes and green spaces. The subject of geese and swans has occupied Roach’s work for a number of years. He is interested in their physical presence and strength, and often depicts them at a large scale. These powerful birds are considered to be creatures of beauty, yet they can also be aggressive and confrontational. It is this contradiction that makes them so fascinating to the artist to observe.