Each year I look forward to spring and venturing to our backyard to enjoy the many birds that populate our neighborhood. Growing up in the country, the pulse of life included harmonious songs of a multitude of birds. Life’s energy filled the world around me. When I moved from the country to a new development in town the absence of these beautiful songs and the lack of life was disheartening. Fifteen years ago, there were no trees and no birds in our neighborhood.
Today, after much hard work and time, we have many mature trees and numerous types of birds. This year we have a new addition, a chickadee family.
Captivated by the tireless efforts of this chickadee pair, I watched them carve a home out of a log stump in our yard.
This photo shows the result of many weeks of nonstop labor. Amazing! I would love to know what the inside of the stump looks like. Google, however, will have to suffice since I respect the hard work and home of these adorable little birds.
Black-capped Chickadee facts
lay 1 egg per day and may lay anywhere from 6 – 8 eggs
most friendly of wild birds, social birds
create numerous food caches and can remember where they are
can lower its body temp in winter
has 15 different calls
the nest excavation averages approximately 21 cm deep
I am married to an amazing man who happens to be a very talented photographer. He captured these photos in our backyard a couple days ago.
The colors, shadows, shapes, subjects, and life in my own backyard often become part of my drawing inspiration. It is essential for me to spend time working outdoors. Quick sketches, like the one at the beginning of this post, help me to develop a creative pulse – some of those sketches work their way into other projects during the year. Being outdoors allows me to take a break from the normal grind of life, and not feel bad about keeping up with social media posts – a great way for me to reconnect and reclaim balance. The pulse of the garden is a tiny gift that money can’t buy.
One More Photo
There are many other types of birds that add to the pulse in our yard like this robin family. Every year there is a momma robin who builds her nest under our deck. I managed to get a quick photo while momma went for a worm run.
Spring is like earth’s orchestra coming together to compose a beautiful song.
With spring on the horizon, I find that I pick up my sketchbook more often. This week’s quick sketch was refreshing, reflecting on the new songs that new life brings. The graphite sketch is on a toned, medium surface paper. White charcoal was added to blend and highlight fur texture.
When I do not have my own photo to draw from I have to invest some time into researching physical and behavioral traits of the subject I want to draw. This research and study phase usually turns out to be very enriching, causing me to try different ideas, and trust in my abilities.
That was the case for this particular drawing. Ravens are actually very amazing creatures. Most legends depict ravens as messengers of something negative, like bad weather, death, evil, loss, and despair. In contrast to those legends, the articles that I read painted them to be intelligent, adaptable, problem solvers, playful, and great acrobatic fliers.
In behavior and physical appearance the raven is not like his smaller relative the crow.
I like what Balin says to Bilbo Baggins about ravens in this excerpt from The Hobbit.
“I only wish he was a raven!” said Balin.
“I thought you did not like them! You seemed very shy of them, when we came this way before.”
“Those were crows! And nasty suspicious-looking creatures at that, and rude as well. You must have heard the ugly names they were calling after us. But the ravens are different. There used to be great friendship between them and the people of Thror, and they often brought us secret news, and were rewarded with such bright things as they coveted to hide in their dwellings.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
The Art Piece
19 x 24 Charcoal on Bristol
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
– Albert Einstein
I have always appreciated the nature of the wolf. They are not mean and ugly creatures (from a distance). Yes, they are wild animals and should be respected as such. Instead, words I would use to describe them would include: playful, social, intelligent, loyal, family orientated, and curious. Check out the Wolf at Canadian Geographic for some great facts.
When I started this drawing it was actually on completely different paper. I have learned not to work on my sketch at the kitchen table. Honey, paper and graphite do not mix well. So, I started over and I am glad I did. The original piece was on paper with a deep tooth making it hard to achieve detail. The final sketch was done on vellum paper. I wish I would have kept the first sketch so I could have posted the difference – next time .
“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin.
Beginning makes the conditions perfect.”
I love new adventures, beginning new journeys, learning new things and conquering new challenges. Learning how to design and set up a website has been more challenging than expected. There are moments of fun and moments of frustration. It is when it starts to come together that I remember it is worth the work.
Website Header – Completed Sketch
Paper and pencil is much more relaxing than the computer :), just saying!