Month: March 2014

The hints of progress in the kitchen or on a page of paper.

I’ve already introduced you to the Peregrine Falcon. And by now you’re no stranger to my affinity for illustrating the birds of North America.

My father makes some really good spaghetti sauce. He’s always tinkering with the recipe, changing this and that.  And almost every batch he makes, it seems, he swears, “This is the best batch yet!”

I always laugh at him, saying something to the sort of “What about last week’s batch?”

Come to find I find myself thinking the same with these bird drawings.  “My goodness this one looks a lot like a bird this time!”

People may get tired of eating spaghetti, or not interested in a hawk or sparrow sketch.

Either way, my Dad will keep making his best pasta sauce ever and I’ll keep drawing my best assorted feathered what-nots. Weather or not the depth of the craft is appreciated in full or not.

Its a stubborn sort of discipline, that has so far lead me to better clarity in the drawings. I’ll say that counts for something.

peregrineoncoldpress.jpg

I laid this drawing down in pen today, after a series of study drawings to figure the posture I wanted. This falcon just took down a small pigeon or dove. It’s pausing briefly checking for any vultures that might try and make off with the score.  It’s perched on a rock ledge somewhere with some considerable elevation, this is their preferred sort of joint to dig into dinner or take shelter.

closeupfalconshead.jpg

closeupdeadbird.jpg

 

I need to call him for that recipe again…

 

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Visions of my make-believe

Laid out in short pen strokes on the sketchpad,
A nod to Georgia O’Keeffe.
I am a sum of my experiences, teachers, and influences.
There’s that music at 2am coming over the speakers in the study.
Move aside the pile of novels, guides, and paint brushes and make myself a bed in the middle of it all.
Another sleepless night, sketching birds in flight.
I’ll take this train to the very last station.
anotherskullpendrawing.jpg

skipping pages forward in a book you once read.

hawkdinnertime.jpg

All to aware time isn’t standing still,
Still he’d like to clear another rise.
Snowflakes across his starry eyes.
To feel alone would be a blessing for this one.
Recanting any statement of any sort of wisdom gained.
As to owe no debt to a situation. He’s a walking superstition.
Unknowingly so.
Where can I find you?
In my church.
The howling winds are my church bells ringing,
The mockingbird is the choir singing.
The rocky peak is the church’s steeple,
The trees around are it’s people.
hoveringkestrel.jpg

 

 

Summer flies and August dies…

peregrineatingdinner.jpg

I don’t think it’s a stretch of the truth to say the Peregrine Falcon is an inspiring animal. While diving they’ve been clocked in at over 200mph/320kph. They look like little fighter jets with eyes and claws.  My Father and I spotted a Peregrine on the Morro Bay rock this past weekend. This got me thinking about how to illustrate them in a fashion that shows some of their prowess, strength, and precision.

With sketching birds it’s easy for me to get in a rut of several similar poses back to back. I broke up a series of owl studies with this new-to-me composition. A Peregrine with a fresh kill. I didn’t draw in a background, because I was so startled by the new bird my pencil brought to the page I didn’t want to screw it all up trying to draw in a rock or something stupid like that. I’m going to work more on this sort of layout.

Three little birds for Bob Marley.

There’s another stack of books on my desk:

1. National Geographic’s field guide to the Birds of North America.

2. The journal I first wrote these words in.

3. Jim Harrison’s “The Woman Lit by Fireflies”.

The voice of a ghost sings through the dust on the speakers. It’s a reggae song about love and hope.

I’ll turn it up but the hour is late. So I turn it up in my mind.

I can put away the paintbrushes, it’s past 10pm and my work is done.

I freed the sketches from the cage inside my head.

Bird pun? real classy…

Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

Purple Finch.

Purple Finch.

Compiling lessons learned onto a page.

pencilwing.jpg

I laid out my wings in pencil, I spread them out like my idol birds.

Onto a page of wood like times before.

Only this time after I stained the wood with an oil.

The grain darkened and stole away my pencil’s edge and depth. graphite fading into the darkened wood.

Again it’ll be up to me to find the bird in the page when the stain dries and all dust is settled.

At long last a challenge I can rise to.