hawk2

RTHA, Shedding light, not mastering.

A Red-tailed Hawk I came upon at work. Quite generous to hold still for me to play bird paparazzi.

A Red-tailed Hawk I came upon at work. Quite generous to hold still for me to play bird paparazzi.

It stayed in my thoughts on the bus ride home and when I got home I tried to put these thoughts to page.

It stayed in my thoughts on the bus ride home and when I got home I tried to put these thoughts to page.

I should mention I'm enjoying these softer pencils. Starting with B and getting into 8B in the end. Fun to smudge around and really work with. Until recently I've only ever used Bic mechanical pencils. Nothing wrong with them, but I'm feeling better results with these now.

I should mention I’m enjoying these softer pencils. Starting with B and getting into 8B in the end. Fun to smudge around and really work with.
Until recently I’ve only ever used Bic mechanical pencils. Nothing wrong with them, but I’m feeling better results with these now.

wholeowlmap

Maps to get lost with.

I had a delightful afternoon of painting owls and laughing at my own jokes.

My jokes, like when I put the Nashville and the Tennessee Warblers on the same page, this map was begging for the largest owl of each region…..right?

My punch line, The Great Grey and the Eurasian Eagle Owl.
The Great Grey I had painted before but this was my first Bubo. I have seen one once before at a wildlife presentation in Southern California. It was injured and unable to fly but still sat with more pride and power than any human I have ever met.
Its eyes seemed to stare through me like a laser shot through soft butter.
The Great Grey still is a ghost on my list of birds to see. They can be found in California but certainly not on my chair in Oakland so I’ll probably need to pack a backpack and head to the Yosemite region if I want to get closer than photos in books or my own sketch pads.
Great Grey Owl Strix nebulosa

Great Grey Owl
Strix nebulosa

Eurasian Eagle Owl Bubo bubo

Eurasian Eagle Owl
Bubo bubo

Some folks trust to reason, others trust to might…

Sitting up here in this tree I can see a distance.
From leaving Illinois, to that feeling of being lost and not being looked for.
From stringing her along, to closing the door.
From her lake in northern Michigan, to the western coast I call home.
It seems often that we get lost in the day to day and can forget what moves it all.
I find the easiest way for me to connect to that is to sit on my chair and draw birds.
While I do that I feel I can review my wrongs, and appraise my truths in a manner most fitting for a boy with my middle name.
I'm a big fan of the non-photo blue pencils. I go a bit heavier with them than I need to but I enjoy seeing it through the graphite latter on in the night.

I’m a big fan of the non-photo blue pencils. I go a bit heavier with them than I need to but I enjoy seeing it through the graphite latter on in the night.

And like a desert mirage brought to my bedroom it comes to life before my eyes. and now yours thanks to this series of tubes we call the internet.

And like a desert mirage brought to my bedroom it comes to life before my eyes. And now yours thanks to this series of tubes we call the internet.

So again thank you for taking a look at the world from my tree top.

So again thank you for taking a look at the world from my tree top.

warblersoftheworldmap

How to carry maps in bicycle baskets.

Or better, what to do with them when you get home. (If it stayed in the basket).

I picked up this map then I learned about some new-to-me warblers from every continent (besides that super cold one). And I put them to page one after another. It was a nice Sunday afternoon of records on the old Victrola and the window open for the wind to get in and make some pages dance.

Oh and for you folks keeping score at home:

1. Asia: Lanceolated Warbler

2. Australia: Spectacled Warbler

3. North America: Yellow-Rumped Warbler

4. South America: Rufous-Capped Warbler

5. Europe: Grasshopper Warbler

6. Africa: Melodious Warbler

drawing new borders?

drawing new borders?

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Warblers in April finished.

I completed the last work tonight on my 20 warblers on 8×10 wooden pages. I left the 10th page in pencil for “artistic reasons”. I suppose I want whoever looks at these to be able to better see where they come from. People always ask my “why birds?” The best answer I can come up with is that if you walked my mile, I imagine you’d paint a lot of birds too. Maybe the pencil work will help.

Who’s next? Finches? Birds for Atticus….

bandwandprairie commonyellowthroatandredstart goldcheeckandhooded hermitandyellow kentandmag kirtlandsandyellowrump redfacedandmourning warblerstnandnash warblerswoodfinal.jpg yellowandbtblue

quilt

Between the pencil sketched branches and obscure references.

My warblers for Walt project progresses with the finishing of the pencil work for the last 8 species. The names of the species are tucked under the feathers I’m certain you can decipher my encrypted handwriting by now if you choose. Hell, I’ll help you out, my handwriting gives me a damn headache…

Red-faced and Mourning Warblers.

Red-faced and Mourning Warblers.

Yellow and Hermit Warblers.

Yellow and Hermit Warblers.

Kirtland's and Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Kirtland’s and Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Common Yellow-throat and American Redstart.

Common Yellow-throat and American Redstart.

His job is to shed light, not to master….

birdbooktakealook.jpg

Sometimes/everytime.

Sometimes I write a letter before I know who I’m writing it to.
Sometimes I sit at a desk with a pencil in my hand and just stare at the wall for an hour, then I put the pencil down and walk out of the room while asking myself “what was I doing…?”
Sometimes I write poems about row boats and ponds in northern Illinois
Sometimes I say normal words wrong like bagel and milk.
Sometimes I untie my shoes wrong and they get all knotted up
Sometimes I untie my mind wrong and it gets knotted up too.
Every time though I get them unknotted up.
No direction home.

No direction home.

work

Warblers for Walt.

I like going to concerts for so many reasons. One of them is that I find ideas for art projects between the notes. At a concert in SF last week I got the idea of 10, 8×10 pieces of wood with two warblers on each. In acrylic this time versus my watercolors before. The watercolor warblers taught me so much about the medium, It is my hope this project will yield the same with my work in acrylic. I chose 20 of my favorites to paint and paired them up by color contrast and in the case of one (I’m sure you can guess which) by name. This project is dedicated to my little nephew Walt.

kentandmag

warblerstnandnash

yellowandbtblue

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Birds and Sisters.

I don’t think there’s anyone who’s rabidly staring at their screen waiting for news of what I’m drawing next. Honestly anybody who follows this corner of the internet can make a safe bet, it’ll be some birds. That’s good.

And when I mention music more often (9 times out of 10) it’s a Grateful Dead note of some sort. While I still intend to deliver your next warbler painting I’d also like to much more directly mention a music group who I think is worth singing from the roof top, or in my case writing by way of the internet tubes while sitting on a bird drawing chair in California.

The T Sisters are a group from Oakland, CA. I saw/heard  them for the first time a month ago at the Fillmore in San Francisco. I don’t like labeling music (warblers are hard enough), but they take me to a place like a modern Carter Family, that pulls from a deep well of Mo-town soul. That being said they certainly have their own very unique approach that stands on it’s own top shelf. Three very strong voices on their own come together to weave a delightful story of music from yesteryears and tomorrow. And do not let me forget the strong instrumental accompaniment found on their records. Really just top notch through and through.

I think what I like most is the roots of family sew into the songs. It’s hard for me to explain to somebody how I can be so close with my family but live thousands of miles away. Their songs come closer than I ever could.

I could ramble on for another good while but i’ll do us all a favor and just tell you what you need to know http://tsisters.com/

A wise man once told me that the beauty of art is the only thing left that can save the world. Whether or not the world needs saving, do your ears and heart a solid one and check them out.

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