23 May 12

Trip to the East Coast

American robin, pen and wash I haven’t been back to the northeast during spring migration since I left in 1996. Last week was a blur of warbler song and color.

Chimney swift, pen and wash I didn’t manage to sketch the gorgeous male indigo bunting that sat in a bush at eye level for over ten minutes, but once I got over my dumbfoundedness at all of it I started sketching fast. I should know to do this, but I’m going to blame jetlag.

northern parula, pen and wash ovenbird, pen and wash

osprey nest, pen and wash Mount Auburn, Plum Island, coastal Maine. Blackburnians and parulas and yellow warblers and black-throated greens. I can still hear them…

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11 March 12

A Sketchcrawl in the Arboretum

Pete Scully has been very diligent about organizing regular sketching outings in Davis. Today we dodged rain showers in the UC Davis Arboretum. About 8-10 of us spent four hours wandering around sketching.

Double-crested cormorant, pen and wash I took the opportunity to do quite a bit more bird sketching than I’ve been doing of late. A cormorant was very cooperative (apart from when dogs went by) and I got several chances to have a turn at drawing it.

orange-crowned warbler, pen and wash Marlene and I snuck off for a quick mocha at around 2 pm, which took us past the Australian section. There was one bush in full bloom with red blossom, where hummingbirds and orange-crowned warblers were frantically feeding.

Anna's hummingbird, pen and wash great day; I haven’t done this much sketching in a protracted way for a while.

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11 November 10

A Trip to Bodega Bay

Bodega Bay birds, pen and ink Took a quick trip to Bodega Bay today, since it was a holiday for us at the university, to check on my mother’s house. Took a walk on the Head and saw Pacific loons, guillemots and pelagic cormorants; the bay was teeming with ducks and grebes, including a black scoter which I managed to sketch fairly poorly. It was a beautiful day with no wind, an extreme rarity.

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12 July 10

Critters at a Wedding

Cedar Waxwing, pen and wash Numenius and I were at a wedding in Oregon this weekend. The setting was gorgeous — out in the forest south of Corvallis, in the Alsea Thyme Garden. Western tanagers and Swainson’s thrushes were singing during the ceremony. I spotted this cedar waxwing beforehand but was unable to see the dipper I was sure was working the creek that ran alongside the garden.

Rough-skinned newt, pen and wash The pond was home to rough-skinned newts, swimming around lazily. And a young garter snake made me very happy. I spotted a raven overhead during the ceremony which seems particularly auspicious since the bride is the bloghoster of Frogs and Ravens. (No frogs, at least not that I heard, but hoping a newt and a garter snake make up for that.)

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28 June 10

Pennsylvania Birds

common grackle,  pen and wash Back from a calligraphy workshop. I failed to identify warbler chips but there were lots of birds I did catch up with, including this grackle.

american robin, watercolor Delighted in seeing a robin with some green to be in instead of parched brown.

Eastern kingbird, pen and wash This eastern kingbird was flycatching from a tall stalk.

Woodchuck, watersoluble graphite Notabird, but a fun thing for this westerner to see nonetheless. This woodchuck is apparently living under the shed at Sheila’s.

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8 June 10

Trip to the Zoo

Flamingoes and pigeon, watersoluble graphite Saturday June 5 was World Drawing Day. We took a trip to Sacramento Zoo, a small zoo on a completely manageable scale. It has been such a cool spring but it’s warming up now and we didn’t stay too long. I used only my Derwent Sketching watercolor pencil (Dark Wash, 8B on paper — and worked much larger than I usually do. It was fun and made a change from pen.

Fulvous whistling-ducks, watersoluble graphite I started out around the pool containing waterfowl and the noisy and raucous flamingoes which are being somewhat shielded from the public during breeding season (it didn’t stop a lot of people trying to get them to “do something” loudly, which always gets me more upset than I think it will).

Greater hornbill, watersoluble graphite The greater hornbills have been doing well at the zoo, this male having been bred in captivity. I am always astonished at the protruberance on the head and find it difficult to draw to make it look different from the feathers.

Bateleur eagle, watersoluble graphite Birds in cages: not my ideal, nor theirs. I draw these birds with respect and hope that what is learned about them here can help their populations in the wild.

Posted by at 08:25 AM in Bird By Bird | Link | Comment [1]

5 May 10

Jackrabbit and Magpie

Jackrabbit and magpie, prismacolor I had lunch with a colleague and had a little time after she got on her bike to head back to her office to do a little drawing. There are several grazing jackrabbits and a magpie got in front of this one and looked my way. Trying to get the effect of shady dappled grass is hard…

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29 April 10

The Fortuitously Delicious Paper

White-tailed Kite, prismacolor I recently moved offices, a chance to toss a lot of stuff that had been lying around and not touched for months or even years. One casualty of my zeal was almost a full ream of a metallic black paper whose name I forget entirely along with its provenance but which I sadly concluded was not going to work for anything.

But I retrieved it from the recycle bin, because I just felt so guilty. Good thing, too. It takes prismacolor and, I have just discovered, pastel like a dream. I don’t have a white version of either one of these to hand to test but I think this could lead to some very dramatic drawings. The paper has a very fine tooth which takes these media superbly well. I just wish I could remember the name of it, I’d buy different colors.

At right, a white-tailed kite in Prismacolor (French Gray); below, a starling and jackrabbit in pastel pencil (Cream). Watch this space.

Starling and jackrabbit, pastel

Posted by at 07:32 PM in Bird By Bird | Link | Comment

25 April 10

My Birdathon

A bit about how the day went can be found on Feathers of Hope, but here are a few of the sketches from this memorable weekend:

anna's hummingbird and american coot, pen and ink

nuttall's woodpecker and downy woodpecker, pen and ink

bushtit and barn swallow, pen and ink

List of birds that made it into the sketchbook:

Wood duck
California quail
Great egret
Snowy egret
Cattle egret
Green heron
Turkey vulture
White-tailed kite
Northern harrier
Red-shouldered hawk
Swainson’s hawk
American kestrel
Common moorhen
American coot
California gull
Rock pigeon
Mourning dove
White-throated swift
Anna’s hummingbird
Belted kingfisher
Nuttall’s woodpecker
Downy woodpecker
Black phoebe
Ash-throated flycatcher
Western kingbird
Warbling vireo
Western scrub-jay
Yellow-billed magpie
American crow
Tree swallow
Northern rough-winged swallow
Cliff swallow
Barn swallow
Bushtit (including nest, found in Arboretum in acacia grove)
Bewick’s wren
House wren
Blue-gray gnatcatcher
Western bluebird
Northern mockingbird
European starling
Cedar waxwing
Yellow-rumped warbler
Wilson’s warbler
Song sparrow
White-crowned sparrow
Golden-crowned sparrow
Red-winged blackbird
Brewer’s blackbird
Brown-headed cowbird
Bullock’s oriole
House finch
American goldfinch

This can’t be right, because I have counted 52 birds and I know I have 58 (because there are 60 pages and all but the last one is filled). But I have blisters and a ravenous appetite for a burrito, so I will leave you here. Thank you for sponsoring me if you did. Next year, please join me! It was a blast.

Posted by at 05:32 PM in Bird By Bird | Link | Comment [2]

28 March 10

Common Eider

common eider, pen and wash Back from Maine. We went out to Pemaquid to sketch; here’s my eider…

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