writing

Owls on magic floating branches…

So here we are again looking at owls.

I had worked most of this painting out to be in “scientifically accurate” colors (see also shades of brown) but halfway through I changed my mind. 

Some nights when I know it’s going to be hard to find sleep I think about bird painting.

Exclusively. 

“What if I made the owl in shades of blue/gray?” 

“Shit, I hope I remember this when I wake up”

Well I did. (mostly).

bluegray process1

Falcons of the World: New Zealand Falcon

The New Zealand Falcon.
This bird is found across the main north and south islands. However absent from the North Auckland peninsula. The New Zealand falcon shares its environment with only one other diurnal raptor, the Australasian Harrier (Circus approximans). Therefor the falcon has more ecological range. And is more of a generalized raptor in many respects.

Its feather coloration is well suited for the forest environment.
They are typically very defensive of their hunting and nesting areas.
These falcons hunt smaller birds primarily, often hunting from a perch or on the wing. While they’re not as fast as their cousins the Peregrine Falcon, they still don’t waste any time in the air. Moving at terrific speeds with fighter jet-like maneuvers.


Until the last couple months most every bird I painted was native to North America. Due largely to my fondness of them. But as my goal moves towards wildlife preservation and awareness I have broadened my scope. I don’t want to just protect the birds of North America, I want to protect all of them. Birds don’t observe our borders, neither does art.

At the least, all this does is guarantee that I’m not going to run out of birds to paint. At the best, I can share the wonders of the planet with you as they come across my drawing desk.  Wherever that desk goes. Thanks for hearing me out and checking out these Falcons with me.

A night in the woods sitting on a tailgate looking up.

Sitting on the tailgate watching the stars emerge from their hiding places in the sky.
Between the branches they come around one after another.
Like disorganized fire ants at a picnic.

I watched their tiny circus act till my eyelids were too heavy to hold up.
My concrete bridges over Fox river eyes.

I slept on the bed liner and woke the morning to a pair of squirrels playing target practice with pine cones.
The first making its mark on the hood of my truck, awakening me with a start.
Only to end in laughter when I saw the guilty parties scurry away.

Some good days begin with laughter.

A poem with stones and rocks in it.

I wanted to write you a note and put it in a bottle.
I got as far as the pencil before the radio turned on and the music played.
There are still songs I hear that you can’t be shaken from.
They take me to a golden sienna morning either long ago or that maybe never happened.
There’s a pitcher of water on the table by the door.
The lyrics in your eyes beckon a smile from under the rock pile that is my days since you left.

It’s different here now. I wouldn’t know how to explain it. Though if I had the chance to talk, I could think of better things to discuss.

Like water, dreams, poems, and maps.
Through the incense of nostalgia and the rosy haze, a truth rolls towards me like a stone wheel.
Slowly grinding.
You live now only in my heart and in the notes of these songs as they make their way through the fog.
And that is all right.

A poem written on a sunday morning

She called me on the phone to tell me about children’s puzzles.
Connect the dots and word searches till dawn.

I called her back to convey the illustrations necessary for the book she planned to write.
The editor sent back my drawings with red pen marks in the margins.

A usual sight when seated next to me in the car with shaky wheels like my life here on the west coast.
No matter its criticism taken in my usual cool mannered stride.
See it through to next week and no matter with the rest.

She sits back down at the piano and I at the drawing table ours one in the same.
Bring it all right back home
In the pouring rain.

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.

A dream from October visited again in November.

It was impossible to run out and meet the night, from where I was sitting.
Across from her at that restaurant on Marsh St.
“I’ve identified the problem” she said in a cold, lifeless voice. The lantern still in her cold white hands.
“you’re terrified of being loved”.
With that last sentence I woke from the sleepless October dream.
So what is my next command? Raise the portcullis and drain the moat?
I began to suspect that traveling storyteller with the troubled mind was right.
I do often suspect my ribcage is a sort of jail cell.
I’m not sure what it is I want to keep out or in.
It’s evident from the street there is a conflict inside.
To hear the echo now might have just saved my life.
Or at the least a chapter of a book I can’t yet write.
And again to further contradict myself, in my own learned form, I’ll tell you something here.
As much as I strive for the clean drawn page. I’m often just thirsty for a fiery destruction of my delightful own.
It crosses my mind more than she does.
Brightly.

No poems, only birds. My classic contradiction.

Sitting at my desk after work tonight. I reckon I could write you a poem, or something of that sort. But I’ll hold onto any words I have in that nature for a day or so. Trying like I do with a pen drawing. Before I begin with the pen work I let the drawing sit in pencil and examine it for a few days. Each time noticing things I hadn’t before.
I like doing that with words too. This helps me find their power or something like that.
 
I finished another large flying hawk. The layout of these drawings is simple but holds lots of texture. I feel good about this approach and would like to now put these birds into other positions in the natural kingdom. No easy task, but tonight’s pencil studies show promise I feel.
hawkfinished.jpg

The most recently finished of my 2’x4′ hawks on plywood.