Tag Archive | painting

Tiger Shrike (Draw a Bird Day)

the spirits of the places
I move through
appear as birds–

residents of sidewalks,
street trees, roofs, parks–
the spirits of the places

stopping me, waiting for me
to acknowledge them as
I move through

thinking of someone I’ve lost–
as if they had suddenly
appeared as a bird

It would be very unusual to spot a tiger shrike in New York City, as they reside in wooded habitats in eastern Asia, and are quite shy. But if you did, that would be the male with the mask. The female has more more subtle coloring, which makes the eye appear larger.

Like all shrikes, they used their sharp hooked beaks to impale their prey–insects, small birds, lizards, rodents. They are not considered threatened, although populations are declining.

My cascade is a (belated) response to Brendan’s discussion at earthweal about spirits of place. I’ve felt spirits in certain of my residences, although I haven’t stayed in many places long enough to establish a relationship. But everywhere I go in the city I find birds.

Birds are considered in many cultures to be a bridge between the human and spirit worlds. I know I’m not the only person who has wondered if someone I’m missing sometimes visits me in the form of a bird.

Striped Owl (Draw a Bird Day)

sometimes in dreams I
remember a time when my spirit was
lifted by stars, silent
as a secret, and then
suddenly moonbound dark and
luminous–everything felt
ancient and reawakened—like the
hushed feathered womb of owl
wings singing in a windswept quaver

Another orange and black bird for the Year of the Tiger. The striped owl is found in Central and South America, inhabiting savannas and semi-open grasslands.

My poem is another Golden Shovel, with lines extracted from Arthur Sze’s wonderful poem “The Owl”. I’ve used it before as inspiration, and probably will again.

And I’m sure owls will show up, as they have before, on Draw A Bird Day as well.

Rufous Treepie (Draw a Bird Day)

In your native landscape
they call you taka chor
always wanting more, more–
objects, glitter

Filling trees with loud calls,
attention-seeking mein–
to be both heard and seen–
crow to the core

The rufous treepie, a long-tailed bird native to India and southeast Asia, is known locally as taka chor, or “coin stealer”. Like all corvids, it loves shiny objects, and has no misgivings about taking anything that catches its eye.

Also, like all crows, it will eat pretty much anything, and is intelligent, adaptable, and opportunistic.

Primarily arboreal, it feeds mostly among the forest cover, and will often hunt with other bird species to flush out more insects from the trees. As its woodland habitat decreases, however, it has learned to live in urban parks and yards, and has no problem eating discarded human food or road kill, if that’s what’s available.

I chose the rufous treepie while looking for orange and black birds in honor of the Year of the Tiger. That may be my bird theme for the year–there are many to choose from.

The poem is an abhanga for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday. Appropriately, an Indian poetic form.

The top bird was done with brush and ink, the middle one is neocolors, and the bottom one is colored pencil with ink outlines–I found a feather quill pen I bought years ago in a box. It’s a bit tricky to use, and I’m out of practice. But I enjoyed working with it again.

Western Meadowlark:  Draw a Bird Day

crescent silhouette
yellow breast
white flash winging
singing
through air

The Western Meadowlark, a resident of western and central North America, is not actually a lark, but is related to blackbirds and starlings. Like larks, though, it is one of the few birds that sings as it flies. The black crescent on its bright yellow breast and the white flash of its tail feathers when flying make it easy to identify.

Though not yet considered endangered, breeding populations have declined 50% in the last 50 years. The meadowlark’s favored habitat of wide open fields and natural grasslands has been declining due to agriculture, housing development, pesticides, invasive plant species, and fire suppression that alters the composition of native landscapes.

I’ve written a gogyoka for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday color poetry challenge.

Honeycreepers (Draw a Bird Day)

“The forests are getting silent”
–Hanna Mounce, Maui Forest Bird Recovery

extinction–
always more words, less
habitat–
repeated
hollow justifications–
vast human wasteland

Eight birds from the Hawaiian Islands were on the official extinction list released by wildlife officials last week. Honeycreepers, descended from finches, are only found in Hawaii and have been losing species ever since explorers started bringing in invasive animals and diseases and destroying habitat in order to profit from the land.

Almost all the remaining honeycreepers are endangered. Besides their visual beauty, they pollinate native plants and keep insect populations under control.

Mosquitos, which are not native to the islands and arrived in the early 1800s, are one of the biggest dangers. They are hard to control and impossible to eliminate. The Avian Malaria and Avian Pox they brought has decimated the lower forest dwelling birds. As honeycreepers have retreated to higher elevations, climate change has followed them, raising the temperatures of the upper forests to levels that mosquitos can tolerate. The Maui Forest Recovery Project is working to save forest habitats and the plants and animals that live in its unique ecosystem.

I’ve written a shadorma this week for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday, poet’s choice.

October 2021

fallen leaves
the crunch of footsteps
clear blue sky

reflecting the rain
changeable skywind spatters
colors patterned light

full moon of autumn appears
leaves too soon amidst hopes of endless harvest
fragments linger, gold glittering

stars remember every invisible map
imprinted on the approaching dark
paradigm

earth saturated with bonfires and bones

Two haiku and a sevenling for October and Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday theme, suggested by Franci Hoffman, the harvest moon. The photos are of September’s full moon traveling across the southern sky outside my window. In the first one, it’s half reflected on the window pane.

The artwork is the first page, front and back, of a handmade paper journal I bought on Etsy. I bought three, one each for myself and my sisters-in-law, as we all have great intentions to do art journals–and hopefully this will get us going. I painted the page, and stitched over the front with a technique I’ve been wanting to try. Since the color bled through the paper, I did a small autumn grid on the back.

Happy October!

draw a bird day: chicken music

cock-
a doo-
dle-
do cluck
cluck buk buk
kuh-kuh-
kack
ba-gawk
tuk buk tuk-
king rrrrrrr chirp peep-
ing chirp
trill errrr
cack-
le chir-
rup squawk crow
caaaaaw cock-
a-
doodle-
do

The last Kick-About prompt was a video of a dancing chicken from Herzog’s film Stroszek. I first decided to draw while watching the video on a roll of rice paper that I had. My photos did not show up that well, but Phil Gomm kindly inverted color and ground and made the lovely images above.

I really like drawing chickens, and so I did a neocolor image. Then I decided to do some monoprint outlines based on my original drawings.

The outlines were fine, but my attempts to print colors on top were not as successful, so I ended up painting over them. One thing I really like about the Kick-About prompts is that it challenges me to try lots of different things.

For the poem, inspired by David’s Waltz Wave sound poem at the skeptic’s kaddish, I did some research on chicken sounds. It turns out there are many online threads about this subject, as so many people are now raising their own chickens and are delighted by their vocalizations.

And so many beautiful and varied breeds! I’ve done chickens several times before, and I’m sure there will be more for some future Draw a Bird Day as well.

I’m taking a break for a few weeks…enjoy the rest of your summer!

Galah Cockatoo (draw a bird day)

galah–
colorful clowns,
a loud mouthed gathering
of white crested coral–
life indwelling
wild, full

A Badger’s hexastitch for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday and Draw a Bird Day.

Galah cockatoos are native to Australia, where they live in large flocks on open grasslands feeding on seeds, berries and insects. But they also can be seen in urban settings, where their raucous calls and adaptations to human habitation are often considered nuisances. The word galah means fool or clown in the Aboriginal language of Yuwaalaraay and is used as such as a derogatory term in Australia (or so the internet tells me…any Australians reading this can confirm or deny)

Cockatoos are highly social and intelligent, and are bred and sold as pets. But these very traits make them not only very high maintenance, but possibly destructive and dangerous. I’ve written about this before–these animals should not be confined and separated from the flocks that are their natural social groups.

Atlantic Puffins (Draw a Bird Day)

Atlantic Puffins are seabirds that breed in large colonies on cliffs or offshore islands along the North Atlantic coast of both Europe and America.  When not breeding, they spend most of their time on the ocean.

Each time I look for information about the birds I draw, I find declining numbers, even if they are not yet endangered.  Habitat destruction.  Declining food sources.  Overhunting.

Puffins are no exception.  How to reverse these trends?

Crucial to finding the way is this:  there is no beginning or end.  No magic formula to suddenly turn things around.

It’s a process.  No moment exists when the fragility and interdependence of ecosystems reaches perfect balance, when humans can relax and ignore the repercussions of our behavior.  We must remain always aware, always learning, always willing to make necessary changes to insure continuity.  To keep the circle connected and alive.

I challenged myself to see if I could take Merril’s quote from Jo Harjo and do a prosery for dVerse. It actually fit the theme of Draw a Bird Day quite well.

“Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.”

Here’s some information about Atlantic Puffins:
–Their wings become flippers underwater. They are excellent divers and can reach depths of 200 feet.
–The hinges on their beak allow them to carry several fish at once.
–They have been observed using sticks as tools.
–Their nicknames are sea parrot or clown of the sea. Puffin chicks are called pufflings.
–Puffin colonies are referred to as a burrow, a circus, or an improbability.
–Puffins mate for life and often return to the same nest or burrow. They lay a single egg which both parents brood for several months.
–They spend the winter on the open ocean, rarely returning to land.

cascade

falling
gravitating
sheer and continuous
sparkled currents rising
in reflection
flowing

A badger’s hexastitch for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday prompt, the photo by Trent McDonald, below.

Trent’s photo made me think of all of Sue Vincent’s photo prompts, and all the watercolor mandalas I painted in response to her images. Thanks, Trent, for the equally magical landscape.

This badger’s hexastitch has a very cinquain-like feel to me–not intentional, but I think it works.