Saturday, April 29, 2017


I think that birds are very useful things and I use them liberally in my paintings as actors in my little pictorial dramas. They complain less than people do. So I draw birds. But to draw birds in "capital A" Art, one must draw them as they really are in Nature to become a natural bird drawer. So here is a sheet of quick sketches of grackles in a tree. The artist at work!
The grackle's tail has an interesting way of flattening out as it flies. The tail is long and straight and then it folds itself into a v-shaped fan at the tip. It's a bit sporty. Well, I'm impressed.

Black and White Birds
mixed media

Friday, April 14, 2017

Countdown to Spring

04-05-17 detail
Hooray! The geese are pairing up. They are camping out and picking out curtains for the babies' room. Soon, the park will be home to toddling goslings. Grackles rush back and forth across the river; how these mobs disappear as soon as they encounter tree branches intrigues me. These streamlined black birds are not silent as they fidget on their twiggy perches. And then they blast off again.

Robins of course rule the season at all levels of my interaction with them: in trees, up on wires and branches, and the fascinating chess game they play on the greening lawns. They chatter and sing from sunup to sundown.

The river roars past in a full Spring spate, fishermen tentatively test the quieter eddies for fishy nibbles. Some are rehearsing. Others are acting.

Two Canada Geese
charcoal, ink
Canada Goose
charcoal, ink
colored pencil, ink, charcoal

Saturday, April 1, 2017

March Birds

We say "Hello!" to April by looking back at a few birds seen in the past few weeks of March. Contrary to the folk adage, March is going out the way it came in: roaring like a snowy and sodden lion. The new season takes it all in stride: robins flit giddily and troops of grackles suddenly take over and move into places they haven't visited in months. Perhaps as Spring wanes and Summer settles in they won't need each other's noisy encouragement so much. But I welcome the advent of birdsong– even though it's accompanied by a lusty pelting of wet snow.

ink wash, charcoal
ink wash, oil stick, charcoal
ink, charcoal
ink, charcoal, crayon

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