sketches

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.

Paper canoe

We were at a restaurant on 48th.
While she spoke I found my discomfort grow.
I opened the door to my head while she wasn’t looking and I stepped in.
I took down the branches of my disdain and fashioned them into a paddle. I handed it to Odysseus and said “You’re going to need this “.

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.

Great Horned Owl

I’ve had this one on my mind for a while. Until recently I never saw on the page what I did in my mind.

With the help of field time, some great literature, a stack of sketchbooks, and zero social life, I have found a foot hold on the uphill battle that I call owl portraits.

Sketches of Spain...except owls....and I was watching cartoons and I misplaced my Miles Davis CDs.

Sketches of Spain…except owls….and I was watching cartoons and I misplaced my Miles Davis CDs.

Like a lead in a detective case. While I'm far from having the nuances of the owl captured, I'm off to a good start. This is the motivation I hoped for going into a new year.

Like a lead in a detective case. While I’m far from having the nuances of the owl captured, I’m off to a good start. This is the motivation I hoped for going into a new year.

Owls again, again, again.

Looking for the shapes in an owl’s face. I put this together last night while taking an evening off from riding bikes into the hills.

I wish I could tell you I got an owl to sit still for me. The two I saw tonight on my bike ride were heading silently away from me.

I looked at some sketches I did of owls two years ago. I can tell you this much. My sketches are starting to look less like cartoon cats with wings, and more like owls. I think that’s a good thing….right?

Spring of 2012 I bought 40, 4"x5" canvas boards and put a bird on every one. Some really looked like birds...

Spring of 2012 I bought 40, 4″x5″ canvas boards and put a bird on every one. Some really looked like birds…

owlsketch.jpg

On a branch in the back of my mind.

I walked to California in concrete shoes,
Midwest boy with the nothing-certain blues.
 
She walked right past me with a halo made of lead,
I turned to look when I should have tied my shoes and fled,
 
She looked like spring and I looked like a thousand winters.
whenever I got near her my thoughts turned to splinters.
 
 
 
 
I’m not often sure who “she” is, but that’s an owl, I can tell you that much for certain.  
 
 
 

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…