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Something different (But in all honesty quite the same)

I went for a good 20 mile mountain bike ride today by myself into the hills outside town.
I saw a number of Scrub Jays and two great Red-tailed hawks.
I believe we have established by now my fascination with the various birds of prey.
When I got home I cooked what would be my approach to steak tacos.
It’s a wonder how I could manage to destroy such a simple meal but cooking is another story for me. When I’m on I’m on. When I’m off, well, something usually gets burnt…
The internet connection has been patchy at best lately so I decided I would do myself a favor and venture out and work somewhere like a coffee shop.
I say favor because I’m not usually quick to go to public places like that alone. I find that I am most comfortable off of the pavement. It’s a good idea to do something outside your usual comfort zone, or so they tell me.
I will say It was nice to get out of the house and hear new sounds other than the freight trains outside my window. I walked to a café on Garden St. I ordered an Ice Chamomile tea to combat the days caffeine and sugar water. (That works right?) I brought this pencil hawk with me and as I sat I translated it to pen.
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 I brought my headphones, but only listened to them for a bit. I was finding the new change of background noise to be interesting enough to listen to while falling into the drawing.
The lighting was shit, the table unlevel, and without my amplifier I was unable to play music through my headphones at a terribly unhealthy level.
That being said, it did me some good to get out of the rut of my home studio and try something different.
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Even if when I was finished drawing I went straight home and baked French fries…
I’ll try again in a week or three…
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You’re never too old to draw dinosaurs for fun. (If you were unaware).

Laying out the shapes on the plywood.

Laying out the shapes on the plywood.

Having fun with the large piece of scrap plywood I picked up from the hardware store down the street. It was thin enough to cut with a few passes with a box cutter. I cut it into three pieces. the first piece can be found under my previously shared abstract face drawing. This one is the second. I am considering options for the third.

The teeth reminded me of drawing the feathers on my hawks.

The teeth reminded me of drawing the feathers on my hawks.

I did the pencil for the dinosaur last night before I went to bed. Tonight I got home from work, cooked a hamburger and sat down with the headphones on. I listened to some live concerts by Umphrey’s McGee. A really great band out of Chicago.

These Micron pens are about toasted now. It’s the third large drawing on plywood I’ve done with them. The coarseness of the wood isn’t very kind to the tip of the pen. A bike ride to the art store in the morning before a trip into the hills on the mountain bike is in order.

Raptor or Tyrannosaur I'm not certain but it was fun to assemble piece by piece.

Raptor or Tyrannosaur I’m not certain but it was fun to assemble piece by piece.

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A dream from October visited again in November.

It was impossible to run out and meet the night, from where I was sitting.
Across from her at that restaurant on Marsh St.
“I’ve identified the problem” she said in a cold, lifeless voice. The lantern still in her cold white hands.
“you’re terrified of being loved”.
With that last sentence I woke from the sleepless October dream.
So what is my next command? Raise the portcullis and drain the moat?
I began to suspect that traveling storyteller with the troubled mind was right.
I do often suspect my ribcage is a sort of jail cell.
I’m not sure what it is I want to keep out or in.
It’s evident from the street there is a conflict inside.
To hear the echo now might have just saved my life.
Or at the least a chapter of a book I can’t yet write.
And again to further contradict myself, in my own learned form, I’ll tell you something here.
As much as I strive for the clean drawn page. I’m often just thirsty for a fiery destruction of my delightful own.
It crosses my mind more than she does.
Brightly.
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Getting by with a little help from my friends.

I’d been keeping all these in a big plastic box because I was too lazy to make mounts for them. I’d usually get as far as calling the piece done, snap a picture and add it to the pile. A good friend stopped by the other day to see some of my works. She suggested the plastic box might not be the best place for these birds. She recommended some good wall mounting options. Thus lighting the fire under me to get them truly finished.

Now that they’re up, I can’t imagine why I didn’t finish the wall mounts for them sooner. It was a great excuse to go to the hardware store.

I am very grateful to have the inspiring and supportive friends and family that I do….and a hardware store down the tracks from my house.

And a Thank You to whomever has squandered a perfectly good minute reading my words and looking at my birds.

Another one for the Grateful Dead.

One of my favorite teachers.
The first study, to figure if I could even spell the word Grateful with pen drawn feathers.

The first study, to figure if I could even spell the word Grateful with pen drawn feathers.

Reminding me to go searching for the sound. To chase after the ever elusive muse.

The pen study.

The pen study.

To not be afraid to fail, or fall flat on my face.
The pencil hawk laid out with the letters and all.

The pencil hawk laid out with the letters and all.

To find the beauty in tragedy, and the strength to continue through.

The bird as it flies from out of the gates of my imagination.

The bird as it flies from out of the gates of my imagination.

To laugh my past away, and to make it one more day.

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Owls again, again, again.

Looking for the shapes in an owl’s face. I put this together last night while taking an evening off from riding bikes into the hills.

I wish I could tell you I got an owl to sit still for me. The two I saw tonight on my bike ride were heading silently away from me.

I looked at some sketches I did of owls two years ago. I can tell you this much. My sketches are starting to look less like cartoon cats with wings, and more like owls. I think that’s a good thing….right?

Spring of 2012 I bought 40, 4"x5" canvas boards and put a bird on every one. Some really looked like birds...

Spring of 2012 I bought 40, 4″x5″ canvas boards and put a bird on every one. Some really looked like birds…

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Just a little trouble with acronyms…

A solid day on the mountain bike. 14 miles in the saddle this afternoon. Field work time. My favorite.
In the field today I saw:
Red-tailed hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Western Blue bird, Turkey Vulture, Mocking bird, and a few unidentified sparrows or wrens.
And one dead tarantula that I suspect a cow or other mountain bike squished. (Poor guy.)
The time after sunset at the desk brought about some sketches of:
A Hooded Oriole, Western Scrub Jay, and half a woman’s face
Dinner was B.L.T.’s with Avocado. Where do you put the A in B.L.T’s?
(in the acronym and/or the sandwich?)
I hope you had a beautiful day too.
(I put the avocado over the bacon to hold it still under the bread).
The Cuesta Grade, California. or, My field.

The Cuesta Grade, California. or, My field.

Western Scrub-jay.

Western Scrub-jay.

Half portrait.

Half portrait.

Hooded Oriole drawn onto watercolor paper. Looking to color this one soon.

Hooded Oriole drawn onto watercolor paper. Looking to color this one soon.

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With each passing moment.

I sat down for 5 hours with a piece of plywood today. While I sat several cameras captured the passing moments. With which I am planning another time-lapse video project. I had done the pencil work for this over the last few weeks. My recent trip to Hawk Hill in Marin County, CA. inspired me further to make this project come about. Today with a free afternoon and all my laundry done, I sat down to bring the myth to the page.

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Two ravens by a railing on a hill in California.

I met with a friend over the weekend in Berkley, CA.
We rode bicycles through San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge and up into the Marin Headlands.
There we visited Hawk Hill. I finally remembered to bring my binoculars, and what a treat it was.
I lost count of the raptors in a matter of minutes.
The sky was like beautiful blue gravy and the fog was flying mashed potatoes.
(Perhaps not my best analogy of the week, but let’s go with it.)
Before I left the hill, I met two ravens. They seemed amused with my excitement of the birds around me. They were the only two birds that sat still for me to take a half decent picture of so I went for it.  I have long admired Ravens. They made sounds like a chuckling cow when I rode away.
From Hawk Hill to San Francisco. Mashed Potato clouds make me hungry.

From Hawk Hill to San Francisco. Mashed Potato clouds make me hungry.

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If I could, I’d give you the world in its own wings.

In July I had completed my first large (2’x4′) hawk drawing on plywood when it occurred to me, I could put words into the wings. The question I had was, what words?
It seemed Two words would be the best place to start. A word for each wing. Ok that was easy enough, but which two words?
So I thought it over for a few months. It got pushed to the back burner for a while.
Other interesting projects came and went across my drawing desk.
A recent voyage across the United States, took me from California, to Denver, to the prairies of northern Illinois.
I met my newborn Nephew, and forged many great new connections. I also connected with the roots from which I grew.
I was standing on the East bank of the Fox River, when the proper two words found me.
I didn’t bother to write them down, Instead with my mind I put them in my back pocket. Because I knew since they had arisen, they would never leave, or fall out of my pocket.
So I took the two words home with me back to California, where I put them into a hawks wings and let it go back into the world.
Thank you for the opportunity to share this with you. It absolutely means the world to me.