pencil

RTHA, Shedding light, not mastering.

A Red-tailed Hawk I came upon at work. Quite generous to hold still for me to play bird paparazzi.

A Red-tailed Hawk I came upon at work. Quite generous to hold still for me to play bird paparazzi.

It stayed in my thoughts on the bus ride home and when I got home I tried to put these thoughts to page.

It stayed in my thoughts on the bus ride home and when I got home I tried to put these thoughts to page.

I should mention I'm enjoying these softer pencils. Starting with B and getting into 8B in the end. Fun to smudge around and really work with. Until recently I've only ever used Bic mechanical pencils. Nothing wrong with them, but I'm feeling better results with these now.

I should mention I’m enjoying these softer pencils. Starting with B and getting into 8B in the end. Fun to smudge around and really work with.
Until recently I’ve only ever used Bic mechanical pencils. Nothing wrong with them, but I’m feeling better results with these now.

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.

Glide between your wing beats.

I bought this new piece of ply-wood for $40 from the hardware store across town.
I cut it into a few pieces. Not at all evenly, really not sure what sort of math I was using.
They went from biggest to smallest. The small part I wasn’t sure what to do with,
so I left it in the bed of my truck. The medium looked good for a hawk. On that
I laid out the Zone-Tailed Hawk shared here previously. The final piece, larger seemed
fit for a great bird, while I considered an Osprey for a minute, I felt it a fine day to go from
Hawks to Eagles. The Bald Eagle seemed a good starting point.
Here it is in pencil gliding between wing beats.
baldeagle

How to trap a hawk with a #2 pencil.

I cut and sanded the plywood over the tailgate of my truck out in the parking lot today after work.
There’s still sawdust on the asphalt at 1am. The wind will take it soon enough I resolved.
I used two Dixon #2 pencils to bring to focus the Hawk I was seeing in the wood grain.
It’s a Zone-Tailed Hawk, native to southern California, Arizona, and Mexico.
But another of many birds I’ve only seen in books, and my pencil work.
Gliding between wing beats, that’s how it will stay on this page.
Until I set it loose in paint sometime not long from now.
zonetailedhawkpencilplywood.jpg

Great Gray Owl

The Great Gray Owl has been of interest to me lately. The largest of our Owls in North America. They hunt over forest clearings and nearby open space by night.
The rings on the face make the yellow eyes appear smaller.
This was my initial sketch after just looking over a few photographs and books. Further studies will yield better illustrations I’m confident.
Two years ago when I decided I wanted to write and illustrate my own collection of birds, I was uncertain of my capabilities of capturing the nuances of the Owls. While I’m still far from mastering it, I do see delightful progress in the direction I desire.
greatgraypencilsketch.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.

Well there ain’t no bugs on me…

Squash Bug.

Squash Bug.

A quick lunch break sketch from work today. the shapes for bugs are simple compared to a flying red-tail, but they have their own challenges. Like antennae shape and the legs. Insects are small for the most part and with that comes some detail difficulty.

A good thing, like the birds, I have the rest of my life to practice getting them on paper.

But the heart has its seasons, its evenings, and songs of its own.

The beginning of a Red-tail hawk in flight

The beginning of a Red-tail hawk in flight

“But a thing falsely drawn will never prove up.” -Luis Agassiz Fuertes, Wildlife artist 1874-1927

Some of my recent pencil work for the bird project. I figure I’m about a week out from having all five warbler plates finished and colored. I’m not sure how other artists celebrate finishing their projects, but I’ve got a few ideas of my own….probably drawing more birds. I have started doing studies for a Snowy Owl drawing. I hope it doesn’t take me as long as the Mocking Bird did.

The fifth and final plate of warblers in pencil.

The fifth and final plate of warblers in pencil.