bringingitallbackhome.jpg

Bringing it all back home.

A morning in late May of 2008 I was standing in my parents driveway in Illinois.
I was setting out for California for what I imagined a summer but suspected could take longer.
I was saying goodbye to my dad and I was tearing up, he asked me why I was upset, and I said it’s because I’m going to miss home.
To which he replied in his honest way, “Yeah, well home is just where you’re at, where ever you end up, I’ll come visit”.
So with my Father’s words I set out in my Grandpa’s old car west on I-80 on a journey still defining my life today, and very much still underway.
home.jpg
Looking down tonight at my drawing table I can see home just as he described.
This brings me a smile.
osprey2.jpg

Pandion haliaetus. (Osprey to you and me).

The Osprey is an incredible hunter. Sometimes called “River Hawks” or “Fish Eagles”. Their primary food is fish, which they spot underwater from hundreds of feet above.  Diving feet first into the water. Their curved talons and rough textured feet help them grip the fish. And in just a few wing beats it’s out of the water and heading home for supper.
It was over the course of last week I put this together. However it's been on my mind for the last two and a half years.

It was over the course of last week I put this together. However it’s been on my mind for the last two and a half years.

They are surrounded in history with legend.  I too have a few good tales to tell that has an Osprey drawn into it.

One summer not long ago. In a cluster of Jack-pine not more than a mile from the shores of Lake Superior…
baldeaglereimageangle1.jpg

Eagle

This one I nicknamed “Guillotine bird” on account of the fact it hangs over my bed. One good earthquake…

It’s my favorite acrylic painting of this size that I have made so far. The sun was shinning nicely in the living room this  afternoon so I moved it there for a few images of it. While digging around on the computer I found some older images of it through out the process. I think I’ve put them up here before but I wanted to group them all together.

Penciled together.

Penciled together.

Fluid acrylic.

Fluid acrylic.

The final bird.

The final bird.

single1.jpg

Evening hour special.

Scribing make-believe Warblers on scraps of wood from a larger project. It’s 1am and I probably had too much caffeine again. Not even a yawn yet so the pen stays close by and I navigate the late night with cartoons, music, and laughing at my own jokes.
single3.jpg
Another sleepless California winter night all dressed up with the perfect place to go.
5. pen final angle

Keep myself guessing

Trying to decide where to start on this one reminded me of cleaning my room as a youngster.

It was going to be just an antelope skull but it turned into something I’m still not sure I recognize. It’s a skull for sure but that’s all I can decipher.

I finally chose a corner and let it follow it self through.

The pencil work unfolded last week when I had just finished a large hawk portrait.

The pencil work unfolded last week when I had just finished a large hawk portrait.

I did the pen work tonight. Working with the grain made some of the lines difficult to darken but several passes with the pen brought it around.

I did the pen work tonight. Working with the grain made some of the lines difficult to darken but several passes with the pen brought it around.

The details emerged from their hiding places like they do.

The details emerged from their hiding places like they do.

At it again (again).

Looking for inspiration on a Monday night. If I scroll through the bands on my ipod, I usually land on the letter G.

Looking for the light on a Monday night.

I’ve been tripping over this one outlined in pencil for a couple days. Tonight I picked it up again and put some pen marks on it. Its sort of a California Thrasher, but I also see some Cuckoo in there too. That’s the fun with the pen lines here.

Like finding former presidents or cartoon characters in the clouds above…or maybe not.

A California Thrasher and a Grateful Dead tape from fall '89.

A California Thrasher and a Grateful Dead tape from fall ’89.

6. end angle

Stop making sense

And sometimes I stay up past midnight to finish a blue hawk. The Talking Heads fill my headphones and smiles ensue.

Penciled out on a 1'x2' piece of 1/8" plywood.

Penciled out on a 1’x2′ piece of 1/8″ plywood.

Rendered in pen in just under three hours.

Rendered in pen in just under three hours.

Mixing fluid acrylic blue with a matte medium and a slo-dri fluid retarder. Applied to the wood with scraps of an old t-shirt.

Mixing fluid acrylic blue with a matte medium and a slo-dri fluid retarder. Applied to the wood with scraps of an old t-shirt.

"She has the smoke in her eyes..."

“She has the smoke in her eyes…”

3.angledfinal

Kestrel (again probably).

Two drawings, but only one got to stick around. The North American kestrels is one really amazing bird. I’ll call it a good day, regardless of the outcome if I spot a Kestrel while about in the world.

I sketched this one out yesterday after finishing the crow/raven. I rather like this approach. I found that some of my earlier attempts at this species looked like pigeons with war paint. Now there’s nothing wrong with a warrior pigeon, just not quite what I was after. However this one rings truer for me anyway.

I spotted a Kestrel last Tuesday, riding my bicycle back to work carrying a backpack full of hamburgers....true story.

I spotted a Kestrel last Tuesday, riding my bicycle back to work carrying a backpack full of hamburgers….true story.

One more on my ever shifting list of favorite raptors to sketch.

One more on my ever shifting list of favorite raptors to sketch.

crow5.jpg

How to build a crow while sitting on a chair.

I penciled this together last night after sketching crows and ravens over the last few nights.

Today after work I sat down before it with a pen and headphones.

It went like this.

Pencil work while watching cartoon reruns.

Pencil work while watching cartoon reruns.

The pen over the top of pencil has a nuance I'm not sure I can explain.  But erasing the pencil after the pen work is outlined is something I really enjoy a lot in the process.

The pen over the top of pencil has a nuance I’m not sure I can explain. But erasing the pencil after the pen work is outlined is something I really enjoy a lot in the process.

I watch the wood grain and it helps me sort out where to draw the lines.

I watch the wood grain and it helps me sort out where to draw the lines.

An abstract crow/raven of sorts. I see crows all over town every day and enjoy them. They're fun to put to page as well.

An abstract crow/raven of sorts. I see crows all over town every day and enjoy them. They’re fun to put to page as well.