Saturday, February 21, 2009

On Finding Wildness...


I just found a site, Illustration Friday, that interests me. A sketch each week is posted to a new theme. This week's theme is "Intuition". Now as an illustrator and naturalist I find this fun and challenging on how to interpret "intuition".


At the time I decided to take part in this weekly scramble of illustrating a topic I pondered the idea of posting an illustration a day on this site. It may be too much to do one sketch a day, (although it's been done before by many artists online). So I will attempt one a week and then may-y-ybe move to one a day.


Yesterday I began my quest of a unique thing to share on my blog and find something to draw. But as the life of a mother and busy artist, I started off in the nature-filled county park in Clarkston delivering work and ended up in Detroit tending to my sick daughter around noon.

As I drove my thoughts turned to: "What will I see and possibly draw on such a busy day?"


Out my daughter's back window on Beaubien Street, in the heart of Detroit, grew an island of true wildness. Nature managed to find here a place to hide, to grab on, taking hold amid the helter skelter of city life. This was perfect for my first sketch; "Detroit Wilderness".
Staghorn sumac holds a crow nest, box elders cradle a leafy squirrel nest not far above a jumble of brick and cement. The color in this drab scene was pink insulation topping off the scraped together pile like icing on a wild urban cake. I wish now that I had had more time to invesitgate the scene and find more artifacts.
And as I drove away and headed back home to deer, fox, and pines, I remembered the scene and was remined of this week's Illustration Friday's theme of "INTUITION"!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Migizi-giizis Eagle Moon

Eagle Moon,February,a time of cold, biting winds yet you know the promise of spring is around the corner---hiding behind each tree.

On the day of the Backyard Bird Count I sat for all of maybe 15 minutes. Cardinals and finches hopped in and out of the wind. Then---time's up. We all go back to work. With the cold and gloominess of the weather it is easy to get alot of work done. OK I need to do better than that for crying out loud!

So the day when the temps soared last week, we ran outside excitedly with jugs and spiles and looked for that tree hiding spring. There it was, a red maple. The sap poured from the hole in the tree waist high. Spring in a bottle! It flowed with gust until the sun set.

Cranes dance in the field by day and geese honk by night overhead. Spring brought in on wings whether by sunlight or starlight, it comes. Open water nearby brings bay ducks it looks like, or is it wishful thinking? Then today bitter winds and gray sky shroud the world and we all drop back into hibernation, seeing our shadow again, we nibble on crackers and chocolate and plan warm Florida trips.

For art, I try to get projects started finished up so that there is more time outdoors and adventure. All the year's plans are put in place. With workshops approaching I fill my head with color, textures, and line, gathering inspiration to share with others.

Color, texture, warm cocoa, nuts, and working in flannel and hoody, drinking coffee watching snowflakes spin, spring can wait a little longer because I need more time. Because right now I am a snug dormant seed that will all too soon peek out.

Friday, February 6, 2009

February is For the Birds

As I go about my day from studio to work space I walk past windows of birds. Waiting to be noticed. Lately there has been a procession of cardinals and strings of juncos. Chickadee sings a spring song and nuthatches on tree trunks honk their horns as if caught in tiny traffic jams.
Michigan Audubon's conference theme is "Michigan's Magnificent Birds" this year. I am excited to go and fill my head with avian knowledge. But what I need more is to get out more to enjoy our marvelous Michigan birds more. Not just for knowledge, but to purely enjoy their being---their song, color, and behavior.
My favorite bird story was about a blue jay that I watched in Mio one day. It ate corn from a deer feeder my father had set up. But the feeder attracted more birds and plenty of squirrels. The jay soon learned that after it made a hawk cry sound, the squirrels and birds would scatter. Then the clever jay hopped down to the feeder to dine.
Join in the Great Backyard count. Do it for yourself and the birds! Maybe they are waiting to see if anyone is noticing. http://www.birdcount.org/ And if you have a great bird tale to tell, let me know.