Sunday, September 2, 2012

Water Over the Dam


South Natick dam
charcoal
© Rob Dunlavey 2012
I think it's been a one of the drier summers but when I look back through my drawings from previous seasons, I see plenty of views of the bare stones and gravel in the river below the dam.  At this time of year, the low water allows ducks free access to all that flowing water affords: mobility and lots of forage to sample in the swirling currents. They busily dabble in all places and attitudes. I've seen them wantonly follow their beaks as they inch down the dam's face surveying the passing water. At a certain point, gravity gets their attention and they scuttle upward or are forced to abort and fly away.

They are always earnest and good natured about these small predicaments. If only me and my kind could show such equanimity in the face of such inevitable slights! It's funny, ducks get aggressive and nip at each other's tails and napes but they quickly settle their feathers and get on with the business at hand. The emotional lives of animals seems so much less-stressful than humans. But this is a wistful digression!

Mallards at the algae salad bar
charcoal, ink
© Rob Dunlavey 2012


Rocks below the dam
charcoal, ink wash
© Rob Dunlavey 2012

Sandpiper
charcoal, ink, ink wash
© Rob Dunlavey 2012

This sandpiper has set up housekeeping at the dam in the last few weeks. It is fun to watch. He bobs and dips his tail and is in near-constant motion prospecting for little bugs to dine on. Don't you love his bright eye?
Here are a few sketches from 2010:

Mallards foraging at the South Natick dam, August 2010
colored pencil
© Rob Dunlavey 2012

The Pleasant Street bridge and low water, Sept 2010
ink, ink wash
© Rob Dunlavey 2012

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