I did work on the nature journal a bit this past Winter/Spring. I love our birds and critters but this year we did not feed them. There was a scary disease going through this part of the country. Thankfully, I did not see it with our birds, but the DNR asked us to not feed them in case it was spreading.
The Rose-breasted Grosbeak’s have been plentiful this season. I have my own photos, but a friend, Steve Bradley, took one of a male that truly inspired me. I used his photo for my painting and one of my own for the female.
First I practiced drawing them since their big old beaks were a new shape for me.
Then I tried the male on my Mom’s Mother’s Day card/letter. I decided I liked that so well, I did the couple in my nature journal (the first image above.)
We saw some snow and below freezing temps this week, which brought the birds to the feeders.
I am also working on a journal for Indiana parks I have visited. The painting is done… now to journal the pages for the first one.
We got a bit of icy weather and snow this week. That means more birds at the feeders.
Over my lunch hour, my favorite sketch this week is an eagle from John Baughman’s image on Facebook’s Indiana Birdography.
Inktober is in full swing and here I am forgetting to blog it! Feel free to look me up on Instagram, where I am quite active. Day 1 was “Ring” (the Nashville Warbler’s eye ring is quite distinct) and “Leaf”. So I hit all 3 lists on this one.
I had no plan going into this year. Come whatever comes. I am watching 3 different lists and am hit and miss with them. This was Mindless and Seedpod. I use to mindlessly whack these down. Now even the seedpod is prescious.
Day 3 was the Killdeer offering herself as Bait to predators to pull them away from her nest. Amazing birds. They nest across the street from me each summer, so I hear them daily.
Day 4 was some practice 60 second sketches.
This momma Robin was sitting near me on the trail. I was unwittingly standing directly under her nest build. I moved back and watched as she industriously went about her business.
It was a great start to Inktober.
For the word, Precious, I had to do my newest nephew, Isaac. However, I am not confident with portraits, so I worked him up in graphite pencil first. Then inked it. I plan to keep working on more portraiture, because it is such a challenge with great reward when you get it right.
Flowing is in process. Cruel was next. I did a fast sketch just for fun and have no intention of reworking it. I did not like this prompt until I thought of how cruel it is when birding to discover a wonderful one was behind you the whole time. In this case, a Sandhill Crane. I shared a throwback to last year to show I really can draw these birds. Cartoon style is still a struggle for me.
I skipped Whale and went straight to Guarded. This was a very technical drawing, so I sketched it first, then inked it.
We ended on clock, which did not inspire me, so I skipped it. I am batting a low average this Inktober. 5 last week and 4 this week. We will see if we can’t beef that up next week.
The above image was my favorite for this week. I was trying new things – this was my niece having a hard time of it when she found her daddy’s jeans hanging on the line. It is one of my favorite moments. Faces and emotions are not easy to capture. I vow to work this next year to do better with them.
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…”