bird song

Nebula

The Great Gray Owl sits on a special shelf of birds in the storage closet of my heart.

Their commanding presence and piercing eyes.

I also enjoy their Latin name Strix nebulosa. It reminds me of the nickname my sister gave me, Nebula.

So today I talked to my sister on the phone, and put a Gray in a nebula of my own.

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Other days between.

We cooked hotdogs on the coals of the bridge we lit up the night before. I ain’t much for ballpark franks but that was a beautiful morning.
It was my turn to go fetch the water from the river. And I did so with a smile. Laughing about the absurdity of the year.
The sun sat golden in the branches like a glowing vulture feasting on dawn.

I don’t know what else I can tell you about that day. It was good.

Falco peregrinus. (Again probably).

I cracked open a can of cola and laid out the paints I would need. As well as several books opened to pages with peregrines on them. To double check the colors I imagined.
I always start these with some idea but a lot of it I figure out on my way through it. Still learning how to best translate from pencil to paint.
f1
When I got to the wings I looked for blue….I found some in my paint box.
f2
The body through me for a loop, and I sat staring at it for a good bit. In the background I could hear the soundtrack of a movie I was half watching. Somebody was laughing.
f3
A glance to the window and I knew where to go. Like driving in the night and checking the map under a streetlight. (I guess now everybody looks at their phone).
I brought back the smallest brush and approached like it was my micron pen. With the precision of a drunk surgeon with a rusty scalpel.
I like paper maps.
falconfinal
Got it sorted well enough.
No simple highway.

In the thick of the evening, when the dealing got rough.

Last night while riding my bike down Telegraph in Oakland I looked up and saw an absolutely giant shooting star. I thought somewhere in the back of my mind I was forgoing moments like that by moving to a big city. It was a nice reminder that not all is as it seems and indeed once in a while you can get shown an actual light in the strangest of places.

You just need to look up.

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.

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