Double Original Friday – Bird Watching

black and white monoprint of a skeletal bird and a haiku

The bird watching from the car is good.
Peregrine, kestrel, loggerhead shrike
Winter fog no winter has known.

I wrote this short poem while on a long drive through California’s central valley in the middle of January. Interstate 5 there is straight as an arrow and flat, plowing its way through hundreds of miles of farmland. It was bitterly cold and dry and a heavy fog hung over the fields. It looks for all the world like ordinary fog, except when you get out of the car and the mix of chemicals and animal waste hits you. By many measures, the central valley of California is one of the most polluted areas of the state, but it is also one of the breadbaskets of our nation and a place of startling diversity of wildlife – particularly predatory birds you can see from the highway. Poem and monoprint (ink on mineral paper) by me. Have a good weekend!

August Draw A Bird Day – The Emperor

TheEmperorI wanted to reveal the next drawing in my “Major Arcana” series for August’s Draw-A-Bird Day. Officially, Draw-A-Bird Day is April 8th each year: you can visit the D.A.B.D. website here – thank you to M.R. Emberson of A-Wing and A-Away for introducing us to it!  A number of artist-bloggers here on Word Press have been celebrating it by posting a bird drawing on the 8th of every month. Laura at Create Art Every Day is hosting this month’s birdy gathering! Thank you, Laura!

The Emperor is a Jabiru stork, one of the largest birds in South America: large males can stand 5 feet tall and have a 9 foot wingspan. They eat small animals of almost any variety – frogs, lizards, crustaceans, and even mice and other birds. Drawing (colored pencil and ink on paper) by me. Have a Happy Draw-A-Bird-Day! If you’d like to see the other two drawings in my bird themed Major Arcana series: The Tower and The Wheel of Fortune.

Excerpt Wednesday – The Darkling Thrush – Hardy

DarklingThrush_2Thomas Hardy wrote The Darkling Thrush in 1899, on the eve of a new century, and used the common bird as a symbol for his trepidation and hope for the future. An interesting article from 2009 (click here to read) about this poem in The Guardian notes that Hardy would not have had the same scientific perspective of birdsong we do today – his thrush sings with the emotion of a human being in the Romantic tradition. I recently decided to revisit this poem and my illustration for it. I still loved the photograph I had originally paired with the excerpt – but I wanted to better highlight the “strings of broken lyres” that I saw, and so worked with it as a digital collage. To read the whole poem, head on over here. Digital collage and composition by me.

Illustration Friday – The Tower

TheTowerWell, this is my second entry for the Draw-A-Bird Day that is on the 8th of every month. Clearly I don’t do well with deadlines! I chose a Western Grebe this month. The scene is sadly one I personally witnessed not long ago on the beach. I see multiple groups of volunteers regularly cleaning this stretch of beach, which is in a state reserve, bags full of trash – and yet more debris keeps coming every day. I decided to keep my theme of the major arcana – perhaps I will wind up with a tarot deck of Draw-A-Bird Day art! Drawing (colored pencil and pen on paper) and composition by me. If you’d like to see my first entry for Draw-A-Bird Day, click here. Ms. Laura of the fabulous Create Art Everyday blog is the curator of Draw-A-Bird Day, check it out and join in (even if you are chronically late like me).


Double Original Friday – an ode

IMG_1256The August challenge over at Red String Paper Cuts was to write an ode to future or long term goals. When proposing the challenge, site co-founder Jessie Gutierrez acknowledges that there is a disconnect between the standard content of an ode and something that hasn’t happened yet. I decided to write the ode about the future in general and good fortune we have to be able to wake up each day. The ink sketch is of a real bird that keeps visiting my father’s bird feeder. She is one tough house finch – one eye and one foot are severely damaged, but she returns each day and is quite active. Poem (read the whole thing here!), drawing, and composition by me – have a great weekend!

Old Poem Saturday – Counting-Out Rhyme – Edna St. Vincent Millay


Today is going to be both Old Poem Saturday and raw-unedited doodle Saturday as well! Apparently, inside my head, Edna St. Vincent Millay’s lovely poem “Counting-Out Rhyme” + lunch-time Friday meeting = doodle of Lord of the Rings-esque falcons. Who knew? You can read the whole poem here (on the very cool “Standing Out in my Field” blog). Composition and doodle (right in the lab notebook, ball point ink originally, colored with markers later) by me. Have a wonderful weekend!