Friday, November 27, 2015

OBSERVATIONS books for sale

It's time to make a few more books of sketches for you to take home with you. In the meantime, below are on-line versions of my first two OBSERVATIONS books. Printed versions are available for purchase here and here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


This blog is called ROBSERVATIONS  because my name is Rob and I see things in my nature travels that I think are cool. Just for the record, at this small place on the Charles River near my home I have seen some interesting creatures:
  • American Osprey, Otter, Muskrats, Raccoons, Red Fox, Snapping Turtles, Carp, Trout, Frogs, snakes, small turtles, small fish, Mallards, Mergansers, Cormorants, Canada Geese, Swans, Sandpipers, Squirrels, Green Herons, Great Blue Herons, Red Tail Hawks, Kingfishers, small birds, crayfish… lots of people and dogs. I'm probably forgetting a few…
This Thanksgiving holiday I am grateful for the farsighted people who act to set aside and preserve bits of the natural world. It's terribly important.

Monday: common mergansers above and a great blue heron below.

Monday's heron

Tuesday: the island. Missing in this drawing is an otter (!) that I saw swimming across the current to the island. It slithered ashore and disappeared over the opposite side.
pink chalk

Wednesday: ice is starting to creep in from the shores. No animals except commuters nearby going to work in their cars. The air is very cold. This is drawn in blue ink. Looking upriver over the dam.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Within the Flow of Time

I often ponder how this river flows whether I am here to witness it or not. It's very impersonal. The water is flowing as I write this and as it flowed before the internet or anything familiar existed. I can imagine the sound it's making right now in the dark of night. It's the same sound as during the day.

Dams have been on the site for centuries but the current one dates only to 1934. I wonder how long it took for geese, ducks and swans to find their way to its top to rest and preen. Most animals are smart and practical; I imagine they started taking advantage of it pretty soon after it was built.

I also wonder how many poets and romantics have haunted the fringes of its white noise and scenic vistas. How many human worries have come to rest on the shore or been allowed to flow to the Atlantic Ocean on the steady current. Have those cares been taken up by kingfishers and herons? Have they been trampled by ducks in times of low water? What happens to the woes of the world when they are relinquished to the flow of the Universe? Do they turn into seafoam or galaxies? Are those unanswered painful questions knit into the flesh of clams and cormorants? I wonder. Bonne nuit.

Ducks swimming upriver
Geese on top of the dam in the rain
carbon pencil
Geese on top of the dam
conté pencil
Ducks, after the Paris terrorist attack
chalk, crayon
Reflections, ripples
ink, charcoal
My birthday swan

Monday, November 2, 2015

Winter blues

Great Blue Heron
Some rain has filled up the river again and there is a swift current below the dam. In a sunny corner, early in the morning, hidden from the casual visitor's view, a heron fishes at the base of a wall. I'm on top of the wall about 8 feet away. The water makes a lot of noise so I can spy on Mr. Heron and draw a top down view without being detected. He stays still for many minutes. I was able to do two drawings before my fingers got too cold.

Great Blue Heron

Here's a view of the dam from a different angle. I did this in oil pastel a few days before the heron drawings. I'm trying to get use to the fact that Winter is on its way and wildlife will become scarce. Until then, I'll draw whatever I can find.

detail of the fish ladder

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