Monday, October 29, 2012

Big Weather

In advance of the visit of Hurricane Sandy, the local wildfowl have come back to the dam. Since late summer, the ducks, geese and even the heron have been unpredictable neighbors. I hadn't realized how attached I had become to the ducks. I made many drawings from June to August in ink, pencil, charcoal and watercolor washes of the duck families that flourished from hatching to fledging. In August and September they moved on to other shores. I had to console myself with smaller birds and the prospect of only drawing the landscape.

I stopped in at the dam yesterday. I wondered if the animals might be about and maybe offer some clue to me that they too were on top of the weather forecast. I'll never know, but I do know that there was a small group of geese at the dam. I haven't seen this number since early summer. You can see my charcoal drawing below of the geese endlessly preening. They were joined by a pair of busy mallards.

Today, Monday, the winds are getting much stronger and mist and rain are coming down …sideways. But it wasn't too bad so I headed back down to the dam again to get an update on the coming spectacle. Big wind-driven cat's paw ripples raked the river's surface and foam was blowing up over the top of the dam. A romantic couple stood by the railing huddled and smiling. The woman was in a yellow slicker while her friend was without and looked quite romantically windblown and ruddy. The wind would take them both or not at all.

My attention was also fixed by three mallard couples (below) resplendent in new plumage feeding and fidgeting below the dam. Once again, I haven't seen congregations of mallards here since the young fledged back in August. I'd like to think that these pairs were part of summer's class.

A technical note: drawing in these conditions (wind and mist) is exciting because it alters how the charcoal goes down on the paper. Where there are drops of water on the paper, the dry media soaks up the water and makes a dark spot. So it's all scratchy. I like the effect.



  1. Had a good time wandering around your facebook page and blog. Love all the images from the dam.
    Facebook reminds me you have a birthday coming up, so before the barrage begins..Happy gosh darn birthday!

  2. Why thank you Judy. It's been way too long a time!


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