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Draw a Bird Day: Nuthatch

upside down
the world becomes new–
balancing
body mind
opened into new visions
enlarged perpectives

One weekend sitting on campus with our coffee and tea, my daughter and I were surrounded by birds. A mockingbird sang a complicated repertoire of songs for about a half hour, blue jays and cardinals visited, crow got in a word or two, and there were lots of sparrows–at least we assumed all the small birds were sparrows–until one started going up and then head down around a tree trunk. Sparrows definitely don’t do that.

When I looked it up in my birdbook at home, I discovered it was a white breasted nuthatch. They like to forage in the bark for insects, and even cache seeds in the crevices. They are quite common in the United States, although I don’t recall ever noticing one before.

I had found my subject for draw a bird day, and wrote a shadorma to accompany the art for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday, poet’s choice.

Weekend drawing and painting, 10/17/20

I started this one a few weeks ago. It’s good that I’m trying to post some art every Monday because it makes me sit down and work. This one has the three figures in it but they were put in intentionally.

I wasn’t feeling inspired much. Took a walk with my husband and found this little bird wing. I’m hoping it’s just a piece from the bird and that the bird is still okay. It was a beautiful little find so I had to do a drawing.

Lovely weather here in New Jersey. I hope everyone has a good week. Nina

Stellar’s Jay (Draw a Bird Day)

hawk’s cry
hungry birds scatter
blue wings appear
a raucous throng
feasting

A gogyohka for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, poet’s choice.

I’ve been hearing blue jays everywhere I go for the last month. Since I’ve already featured blue jays, I decided to draw and paint its West Coast relative, the Stellar’s Jay. Like all jays, they are excellent mimics, and imitate hawks to scare other birds away from food they want to eat. They also pretend to be dogs, cats, squirrels and chickens.

Stellar Jays prefer dense coniferous wooded habitats, but being scavengers and opportunists, have adjusted well to the encroachment of humans.

The pandemic and my unconscious mind

I’ve been doing these drawings starting with a swoop of a few blobs of paint with a large paintbrush.

My daughter doesn’t really pay much attention to my artwork. She looked at this one and said “this is our family”. Me, husband, daughter and daughter’s dog…I did not do this intentionally.

Where did this come from? The figures: a Keith Haring rip-off. The swoop I’ve been doing I copied from a TikTok artist (it is a lot of fun to do). But the content came purely from my unconscious mind. I’m sure of it.

There is so much terrifying stuff going on-not to me personally, but in the world, and everyone is affected. A generation of kids-especially the really young ones-are missing out on the beauty of going to school. Fires raging in our country and on the island of Lesbos, displacing thousands of people. I am pretty old but I wonder: will it be okay?

Loggerhead Shrike: Draw a Bird Day

butcherbird–
we find your habits
distasteful–
twisting necks,
impaling your prey on thorns–
killing to survive

preferring
our own destructive
impulses–
too often
disconnected from earth–
we pull life apart

The Loggerhead Shrike, also known as butcherbird or thornbird, is a medium sized songbird that acts like a raptor.  With a short hooked beak, but lacking the talons of a true bird of prey, it hunts in similar ways, diving from an elevated perch or hovering and flushing its victims.  It then impales its food on thorns or barbed wire.  It can kill prey larger than itself by spearing the head or neck and twisting at a very high speed.  Sounds gruesome, no?  And many of the reference photos I looked at showed it either consuming or impaling its next meal–amphibians, insects, lizards, small mammals, small birds.

But it’s part of the food chain.  And that’s how it obtains it’s food.

Loggerhead Shrikes, like many birds, have become endangered as their North American habitats shrink or are destroyed.  Climate change and pesticides have also caused populations to decline.

How did I post this?  Several people suggested going into the WP Administration page where you can do a normal post without dealing with the blocks.  I looked at the block again briefly, but without success.

Still in the midst of moving, but should be back posting (as long as I can do it this way) in a couple weeks.

Drawing from a photograph

I follow a Paterson site by a guy named Bernard Jaz Payne. He posts some great photos of old Paterson. This one is William Carlos Williams, a pediatrician/poet who wrote “Paterson”.

Here is the photo:

I recently bought a pad of good drawing paper (Arches 85% cotton) and it is much better than the sketchbooks I usually use. Doing this drawing on this paper was pretty rewarding. I could get different textures and shading much more easily.

Have a great week! Nina

shell

conch 1 2

well, first the wayward wind—grey—if you tried to hold it, your hands remained empty–

the song of the sirens, spilled into a traverse of stone and sea—perhaps some dragon’s breath—a shape becoming uncovered, a shape turning into a wheel that reminds itself to spiral—

the beach is hungry, but in a subtle way—do not conclude that it can be ignored–

gaping portals
azure shimmering
meeting places

postcard shell 1

 

Stream of consciousness for Grace at dVerse.  I’ve been doing a lot of this because of a recent prompt I saw that incorporated this technique, where you took a treasured object and wrote a bunch of unedited stories about it.  This was from my origin story.

whelk 1 2015 comp

The original writing for this haibun took up a whole page–I just selected a few parts and made a kind of haiku by removing words from one “sentence”.  The drawings are once again taken from my archives.  I’ve spent a lot of time drawing shells.

shell tattoo close up s

Draw a Bird Day: Carolina Wren

carolina wren 3s

wren magnetic

The Carolina wren is common throughout the eastern United States, but it is more often seen than heard.  Ground dwellers who prefer the undergrowth near forests, they live in pairs, and are believed to mate for life.  The male is the most vocal, but they can also be heard in duet.  Although shy of humans, these small brown birds are active and inquisitive.

carolina wren 1s

deep rivers wander
tree to earthstone,
listening–
brown birdsong grows wild,
seeding wind with ancient light

carolina wren 2s

A gogyohka from the Oracle for Colleen’s #tanka Tuesday, poet’s choice.

water music

water music s

sea reaches
toward land
waves form patterns
mermaid songs rising falling
on currents of air

I used the photo supplied by Sally Cronin, above, for Colleen’s #tanka Tuesday gogyohka.  The colored pencil drawing is one of water currents I did earlier this year.  I meant to do more of these, but it requires a focus I just don’t have right now.

Also posting on dVerse Open Link Night, hosted by Mish.

Draw a Bird Day: Mallard

collage mallard a

we decoy ducks–turn
them into sitting targets
for the play of guns,

cartoon them with characters
that ignore their balanced grace

mallard f watercolor s

I did a lot of drawings and paintings of ducks and found them to be a challenge.  Often they ended up looking more like decoys than something alive.  I was interested to discover that the expression “sitting duck” came from how easy ducks are for hunters to shoot and kill–less sport than slaughter.

2 mallards s

I also did not know that they spend 2 weeks in late summer or early fall molting, replacing all of their feathers.  During that time they can’t fly.

 

ducklings drawing s

Mallards are good parents, and prefer shallow freshwater wetlands to raise their families.  They are one of the most recognizable and abundant duck species in the world, and ancestor to most strains of domesticated ducks.

For Colleen’s #tanka Tuesday, poet’s choice.  I’ve written a tanka.