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.
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…”
What does an artist do when she blows 2 tires on her new car and her sister and family, Sunday soup in hand, come riding to the rescue in their clunkety van? She draws a thank you!
Note: Coup Fourre is a reference to a rescue card in the game of Mille Bornes, which the kids insisted would have helped me a lot. I told them that they were my coup fourre.
Their unabashed joy in the whole situation made it not so bad. A month later, their poor van gave up the ghost itself, but it was useful for several family rescues over the years.
Note: It has only been recently that I learned to illustrate. Much thanks to a class I took during my graphic design degree. Thank you, Jacob!
Years ago I met an amazing woman who was to become a close friend and confidant. She was a regional director for an international IT consulting firm. Her career accomplishments were impressive (the drop jaw type of thing), so you might be able to imagine my astonishment when I first saw this laptop toting, international project manager extraordinaire, during a weekend visit, whip out her cross stitch needlework and cozy up by the fire. I guess I thought that was a “country” thing. I came to discover it is actually a family thing. Laptops, smartphones and leather briefcases can’t stop that.
Her mother’s vintage needlework…
Her own cross stitch pieces tend to be large and detailed…
And her daughter has also picked up the love.
I enjoy seeing women pass down their joy of needlework from generation to generation. Some of my own nieces are showing an interest, and I find that exciting.