Flight path.

A pose I had sketched a lot in October. Here it finally came to life in pen this evening with the help of a visit from a Red-Tailed Hawk on my way home tonight. Inspiration move me brightly…

Penciled in like an appointment I never planned to keep.

Penciled in like an appointment I never planned to keep.

Turns to splintered sunlight on my page.

Turns to splintered sunlight on my page.

Hawks help me get lost in the meadow of my imagination.

Hawks help me get lost in the meadow of my imagination.

A poem and a pencil drawing.

That was the summer our kite strings tanged up together.
The one that dragged me through the years and one hundred thistle patches to right here standing on your front porch.
No flowers in hand, just some dried Bull thistle stalk.
Standing before you, I can hear the years start to talk.
I’m lost without you I wish she would say,
truth being I can see without you clear as day.
Nothing echoes for tomorrows sake, no words from either of us.
My mind races towards the first fire escape, looking for a way through the red tape.
I’d rather be anywhere else, maybe in Chicago waiting for a bus, or East St. Louis waiting for a train.
but for this everlasting second staring into her eyes brings an unnerving sort of pain.
I could be in South Dakota, drinking a can of orange soda.
Or maybe a Laundromat in California, counting change, hoping my thoughts could re-arrange.
I look to my feet to curse whichever shoe, for bringing me here to stand before you.
My goodness though, the visions of our shared past.
An idea I knew could never last.
Laid on the desk and ignored until now,
once pausing to wipe the sweat from my brow.
And all the while under the eaves of your front porch.
Where we stood in this unending brief passage of our time together apart.

Finishing a page with the radio playing.

9pm and there is a record playing in the corner. The dust is audible on the speakers, like sunshine through a dirt stained-glass. I’m halfway through the watercolor on this particular page. I got thirsty so brushes went down. Riding my bicycle to the store for a backpack full of Orange Peach Mango juice. A Barn Owl screeched at me from its perch in the palm. Heard but not seen.

The store was busy, I got my juice and left. The sound of the owl still bouncing around in my head.

The story ends with this page here before you.

Still dust through the speakers though.

Another night, wood grained black and white.

I owe you something with color in it. I know, it’s been some time. Well, another night will pass without watercolor. I finished my fourth flying hawk on plywood. This is a Broad-winged Hawk. Found east of the Rockies.

There is a story that ties me to every bird I draw, sometimes it requires 6 degrees of separation, sometimes it’s tied into the very tail feathers. With my time pen in hand I’ve been working on writing all these connections down. So that I might better illustrate everything better.

Call it a self portrait in words and birds.

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The Earth will see you on through this time

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If I had an angel it would be a Red-tailed Hawk. That is if I were to have a say in the matter.
Passing by the hours with a pen after a walk to the Grocery, were I crossed paths with an old mistake.
Fate twisted the knife in my side, never had I met somebody so good at making me feel my worst for trying my best. Humans are but that though.
None free from our own delights and pains.
And when I find that I’ve set myself lower than I should, I conjure up some lines on a page that will deliver me from, although briefly, all my trials.
And nothing more for shall I ever ask.

Sketchbook to ward off the rains

Because the hawks aren’t always in the meadow and the song birds seldom perch on my neighbor’s tree.
So I sit down to piece together my own birds of a feather from pencil, time, and pen.
And sometimes a lightning storm rolls through on a July afternoon. Cooling the air before the fireflies come out and I run to catch them.
If I was locked into a game of perpetual solitaire eye-spy. Then I’m just going to have to carry along a sketch pad to catch whatever falls near me.
It can be my umbrella.
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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.

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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.

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I need to call him for that recipe again…

 

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.
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skipping pages forward in a book you once read.

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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.
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Summer flies and August dies…

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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.