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.

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.
Looking down tonight at my drawing table I can see home just as he described.
This brings me a smile.

Don’t think twice,

It’s all right.


I like the mornings where the fog makes its way into town. The path of the day is gray.

My favorite sound is of a snowplow driving down my old street at 3am in January.

That’s why I love the trains at the station here at the dead of night.

I came to California for mountains and fair-weather romance.

I was sure about the mountains, the other snuck up on me.

I like to draw birds because I believe doing so preserves my family history.

I don’t mind washing dishes, unless bbq sauce is burned onto something like a cookie sheet.

While I prefer dry socks, I love rain storms.

Books are fun to read then stack, when the stack falls. read ’em again.

I like songs with instruments played by people in them.

Breaking glass is sort of a jerk thing to do.

There are things I’ve learned following old musicians around on tour that nothing else could have taught me.

beautiful, important, childish, historic things.

I like the smell of coffee, but the taste not as much.

The only thing I like to get over my head in, is an Illinois prairie.




Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re trying to be so quiet?

Young owl.

Young owl.

Friday night was a “go out and be social” night. To make up for abandoning my sketchbook on valentine’s day, Today I filled three pages with lines and colors.

Mockingbird on the wing.

Mockingbird on the wing.

First I colored a drawing of a young owl from the other day. While I worked on that a mockingbird flew to my window to challenge my bird stencils, this no doubt inspired the next page to follow, with a mockingbird on the wing. When that page came to be, I thought of a bird I’ve seen a few of near where I work. A common Yellow-throat. A small masked shrub-dweller with an olive/green hue.
Common Yellow-throat.

Common Yellow-throat.


Let the echo decide if I was right or wrong

When reading through the titles of the posts on my blog it won’t take long to find the musical influences on my artwork.
My dad shared a lot of really great music with me while I grew up. We went on a lot of  camping trips all of which involved a good ol’ fashioned road trip.
These trips are where I heard Bob Dylan’s music for the first time. Between Frank Zappa albums and NPR shows like Car Talk and Prairie Home Companion.
Dylan’s lyrics stick to my brain like glue, and climb out of my head to help me reference and sort out trials in my personal life and the world around me.
The end of a doomed from the get-go relationship last fall brought me to “It’s all right, don’t think twice”.
Just about any news coverage of violence brings me to “Desolation Row”….”The riot squad is restless, they need somewhere to go”.
That mysterious girl I met in the meadow last month reminds me of the words, “She’s got everything she needs
She’s an artist, she don’t look back,  She can take the dark out of the nighttime,  And paint the daytime black.”
Spending days on end working on these drawings furthers the connection some how.
Red-shoulder Hawk.

Red-shoulder Hawk.

Zone-tailed Hawk.

Zone-tailed Hawk.

From simple to sublime, I connect strongly to his poetry.
While I heard Dylan’s music a lot as a youngster, it was the Grateful Dead who I found as a teenager that brought me closer to Dylan’s work and more importantly his lyrics. Neither Dylan or the Dead will probably win an award for best singing voices, that’s not the point. Though I’m in so position to say so, I’d venture to guess it’s the poetry in the song that is the point.
I listen to a lot of music and I draw a lot of birds. There’s a connection there, but I’m not sure where and I’m not terribly interested in finding out what it is. I just know it works for me.
My goal above all is to share the results of such in some way with the world to give light to a beauty sorely missing in many of our day to day lives.
This will be how I save the world around me, or at least try.

She promised that she’d be right there with me, When I paint my masterpiece.

Plate one

Plate one


Plate two

I started this blog in November. My first post was the image of the 1st plate of warblers here. I descided after finishing that first plate I would do more, and after pouring over bird guides I narrowed it down to 30 warblers total. Believe me there are more, but I didn’t want to burn myself out drawing so many similar sized birds, nor did I wish to burn out the viewer .

I chose the birds based on name and coloration, then broke them into groups of six, as thats what fits best on the 16×20 cold press board that I use. Many of the proper field guide books break them into groups of like-colors. Which makes sense when you’re trying to identify a bird in the field.  I descided against that as I found it more visually striking to have a variety of colored birds on each page instead of all very similar colors and field identification aid isn’t my goal with this project. That goal instead being to illustrate the beauty of the natural world around us.

Plate three

I couldn’t resist putting Nashville, Grace’s, and Tennessee togther on the same row.  Something about the poetry I’ve spoke of before.


Plate four

The Cerulean Warbler was one of my favorites, its not often I get a chance to use so much blue…except for scrub jays, Stellers jays, blue jays, and all three varieties of bluebirds…ok I guess there’s a few.


Plate five