Sketching Birds

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This has been the year for sketching the birds I am photographing and spending time watching all the youngsters figure out their big new world. I started last fall doing the above types of 5 second sketches.

I like to use ink for the initial sketches because it forces me to capture their essence without overworking and overthinking it. Perfection is not the aim and ink is always full of lines that can not be erased, so that forces my letting go of the OCD side of my personality.

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This month I started spending a little more energy on the initial sketch then adding various views of the same bird in pencil.  We have had so many Downy Woodpecker babies this year that I decided to catalog them to see who sticks around. Did you know that you can tell them apart by their head stripes? It has been fun and very illuminating to learn about these individuals visiting my feeder.

Note: I have been naming them only because it is easier to talk about them with a name versus – “you know, that one with the squiggly stripe…”

Capturing Moments

A gift for a friend was a book that captured the building of her new house and the move day activities in 2016. This book was created through Shutterfly because of the price break on a 20 page hardcover. It seemed a safe way to create my first photo book and I am pleased. And it makes a very special gift.

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2017 Annual Calendar

This year the topic was my father’s life in the 1940s and 1950s.

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Some favorite months:

As usual, it was quite the production, but the hardest part was pulling the story together from scattered information and secondly, managing so many photos per page. However, the Supervisor was quite pleased.

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Christmas Cat

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Some Christmas humor for you. Stitches – the cat we can never forget. And she has been painted and poetry written about her. Very inspirational but quite a clown.

There was one Christmas that is seared into my memory. Early morning and we are preparing to join family when this cat starts yowling….

Stitches my cat

Was found with a mat

In a place on her coat where the kitty cat sat.

 —

She meowed and she cried,

And she poked at my side,

So I knew I must try to help her sore hide.

 —

I brushed her hair,

But the knot was still there,

So we searched for scissors to cut the spot bare.

 —

Sheri started to snip,

And she made a small clip,

But Stitches screamed out and tried a quick nip!

 —

It became very clear,

Though the thought was not dear,

That a vet was the one who could help her poor rear.

 —

So a battle we waged,

To get her encaged,

And that’s hard to do when a cat is enraged.

 —

We drove with the cat,

To the vet and we sat

And waited until she removed the large mat.

 —

The cat was now quiet,

But the bill was a riot,

For the price that I paid, I could’ve lived at the Hyatt.

 —

That’s the end of my tale,

It all ended well.

Do you want a nice kitty, I have one for sale.

©Charlotte Franck - Christmas Day 2007

That was one expensive vet trip, but it was also strange – driving through the Castleton mall area and not a soul in sight. Felt apocalyptic!

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This one was published in a children’s book…

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Nature’s Ambiance

There are 2 things in life that really assist in my creativity – nature and ambiance. My new home has both! Wonderful ambiance of soft colors and open spaces. I often have soft music playing in the background, and now that it is cooler, a fire going.

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The walkout basement is unfinished yet climate controlled and absolutely perfect for an art studio – the studio is in process. Hopefully I will have it fully organized and functioning by Spring.

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But the bonus is the big windows looking out into a wild wood area, often giving us close to 50 birds at a time at our winter feeders.

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In the summer we fed several hummingbirds and next year plan to keep the finch feeders going in the summer. The cats are in heaven and we have a lot of vantage points set up just for them (this house is very cat-centric.)

The dogs love the fenced in back yard and all the possums, turtles and other strange wild creatures they find that have wandered through or are occasionally still there in the morning. It keeps them on their toes.

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We have swarms of the yellow goldfinches and a large amount of the red and brown house finches. We also have red winged blackbirds, chickadees, 4 pairs of cardinals, blue jays, nuthatches, mourning doves, downy woodpeckers, at least one red bellied woodpecker, snow birds (juncos), and loads of house sparrows (which are really English finches imported from England). Periodically we see a hawk or a Green Heron sitting in our trees.

And do not forget the feisty squirrels – we have 2 that I suspect are male and female.

 

 

Hummingbirds

Starting up my 5 second sketches again – really have missed them! I have been away from drawing since prior to organizing a house move.

The first set was very stiff  (I photograph hummers, but have never drawn them); however, by page 2 I began to loosen up.

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It made it very clear to me that practice is essential for an for me to remain active as an artist, no matter how many years I have been creating. Thus – I am making a commitment to get back to regular drawing. It is a happy decision. See you around!2016-09-13-17-04-28