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A Garden’s Pulse

Nothing like taking time to sketch to get the creative juices flowing.
Black-capped Chickadee – A Garden Sketch

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
  • nonmigratory
  • the nest excavation averages approximately 21 cm deep
  • the female picks the location for the nest

For more information on Chickadees check out The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, The Canadian Wildlife Federation.

Life in Our Backyard

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.

Drawing Inspiration

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

Baby Robins

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.

…guess we are sharing the strawberries again.



To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.

-Mary Davis
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Countless Female Musicians – Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell – Canadian Musicians

Musicians - Charcoal Drawing
Joni Mitchel – Charcoal on Tan Paper

With so many amazing female musicians it is hard to choose which talented lady to feature.   Each artist has made a  contribution to the music scene in Canada.  This week, however, I chose to highlight Joni Mitchell (Roberta Joan Mitchell).   There is no question that she has had successes as a singer and songwriter, it is, however, the poetic and musical intellect that I am fascinated by.  Also intriguing is the evolution and progression of her musical styles that include folk, rock, jazz, and pop.  Her willingness and ability to explore music through piano and open-tuned guitar show a great depth and understanding of complex harmonies and rhythms.  Poetically developing her music from many genres, she has had a strong musical presence in North America.   It is hard to sum up in a few words the influences that Joni Mitchell had during an exciting musical time in our country.

Check out the Joni Mitchell website for more information along with her collection of paintings.

Earlier this year I watched an interview with David Yaffe, author of the biography Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell.  I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during his interviews with Ms. Mitchell.  I guess the next best thing would be to read his book.  I am excited and looking forward to reading it and learning more about the influences and factors that led to the growth of Joni Mitchell’s musical career.

The Artwork

Another reason I chose to highlight Joni Mitchell this week was the artwork.  In comparing the four pieces seen here I decided to be less rigid and closed with the drawing I did of Joni Mitchell.  I feel it gives a lighter and unbound feeling.  Each style has a different type of beauty, but for me, there is something refreshing and freeing when I don’t get too detailed.

Musicians
Shania Twain – Charcoal on Tan Paper

 

It comes down to knowing when to stop the piece.  Is it finished, or should I add more detail?   Do I want it to look like a photograph or artwork?

Musicians
Serena Ryder – Charcoal on Tan Paper

 

 

This type of self-reflection along with studying artwork that intrigues me is what helps me grow as an artist.  I am hoping to develop a more open style as I continue to study art.

 

Musicians
Alanis Morissette – Charcoal on Tan Paper

The list of Canadian female musicians is a long one.  I am looking forward to exploring more great music as I spend time with my sketchbook.

Follow me on Instagram for weekly art updates @eisycindy

More Canadian Musician Drawings

 

 

 

 

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Sketchbook Sketch Break

Eagle02222016

Bald Eagle – Charcoal 

Jumbled, cluttered, whirlwind… If I could look inside my brain, I think I would see that exact chaotic mess of too many thoughts crashing around, each one vying for my attention. Okay, it’s probably not that bad.  It is, however, essential for me to stop, breathe, prioritize, and refocus daily.  Picking up my sketchbook helps me to regain this focus and be more productive.

This weekend I decided it was time for a sketch with less detail, using only a charcoal stick and eraser I set out to sketch a bald eagle. I blocked in most of the page with charcoal, being careful on the areas I knew would remain lighter.  With my kneaded eraser I removed the excess charcoal to bring out the highlight areas.  Easily completed in one sitting, this free-flowing method of drawing with charcoal is a great sketch break activity.

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The Sketchbook – Songs of Spring

Spring is like earth’s orchestra coming together to compose a beautiful song.

Songs of Spring.

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.