Tag Archive | painting

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.

Poem up at the Ekphrastic Review

My prose poem Passing, inspired by “After the Storm”, by Istvan Farkas, below, is posted on The Ekphrastic Review today.

Picture

It was before and then it was after. The ground was reflected in the monochromatic sky, rising in the disappearing drizzle, held momentarily by the scattered light. The canopy could not be breached, not even by the unveiling here and now.

You can read the entire poem here.

My thanks once again to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for supporting my work and the interaction between the visual and written arts.

Ibis (Draw a Bird Day)

ibis
graceful, silent
keeper and creator
measuring magic by the moon
Thothbird

For Colleen’s #TankaTuesday poet’s choice and for Draw a Bird Day, a didactic cinquian.

The Egyptian god Thoth was often represented as an ibis, or an ibis-headed man. Like the sacred ibis bird, he was associated with knowledge, wisdom and the moon, but also much more. Scribe to the gods, he taught men to write. He was the reckoner of time, “he who balances”, a scientist and magician.

Millions of ibis birds were mummified in Ancient Egypt as offerings to Thoth. The sacred ibis is now regionally extinct in Egypt, although it is still found in other Sub-Saharan African lands.

One species of ibis found in eastern American coastal regions is the glossy ibis. From a distance it appears to be a mostly uniform dark color, but close up its feathers become an iridescent rainbow.

Today is #WorldMigratoryBirdDay. The glossy ibis flocks that breed along the NE coast migrate to the Gulf of Mexico for wintering. As with all shore dependent migratory birds, saving our natural shorelines are one key to their survival.

Also linking to earthweal open link weekend.

Red Knot/Moonbird (Draw a Bird Day)

Birds need no maps of the earth,
no compass to locate the forces
that pull and repel.
Their geography is larger
than what can be painted, written down.
Their landscape is contained inside
their very bones,
invisible roots woven through
the air.

Birds move on currents
of sun sky wind and water–
alert to the pauses,
the imperfections
in the movement of the light.
They hear the world
as it slumbers, as it awakens,
as it waits.
They have no need to build bridges
for crossing over.

Birds don’t need to mark their path,
to provide proof
of their connection to the cosmos
with signs or constructs.
Who they are
is part of their being.
The way is within
the first cell of
the first song of
the first particle of
dust from the first star.

I recently read an article about the red knot B95, nicknamed Moonbird. B95 is a banded bird that was both trapped and photographed through 20 years of migration between the tip of South America, where it winters, and the Arctic, where it summers and breeds, a distance of 9000 miles each way. B95 traveled enough miles to go to the moon and most of the way back–hence, Moonbird.

Considering the fact that one half of juvenile red knots dies during their first year’s mirgration, that is quite an accomplishment.

Red knots are robin-sized shore birds that have greyish feathers during their southern winters, but grow red feathers for the summer layover in the Arctic. As recently as 1995 there were over 150,000 red knots making the north-south-north trip, but half of the adult red knot population died between 2000-2002 due to climate change and human intrusions on their habitat. Of particular concern was the reduction of the horseshoe crab population in the tidal waters of the Delaware Bay, an important last feeding stopover before the final flight to the Arctic. Red knots time their migrations to coincide with the yearly egg-laying of horseshoe crabs, feeding on the eggs laid on the beaches. Horseshoe crabs are important to many other species in the bay as well, and scientists are working to restore this vital component of the ecosystem, which was dying due to overfishing and overdevelopment.

Red knots fly in acrobatic groups and perform evasive movements in unison meant to confuse predators like hawks. How do they “know” where to go? One theory is that they have an internal genetic flight map, but they are also known to respond to the position of the sun and the movements of the stars as they often fly all night. Red knots may also recognize both landmarks and magnetic fields. No wonder they have been called “a flying compass”

Moonbird was last spotted in 2014, 19 years after he was first caught and banded.

Red knots were the first bird ever listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Poem up at the Ekphrastic Review

My poem Upon a Time, inspired by “Spinning Flax”, by Maria Martinetti, below, is posted on The Ekphrastic Review today.

Picture

hushabye, don’t cry–
all the pretty horses fly
shining starborne dreams

You can read the entire poem here.

My thanks once again to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for supporting my work and the interaction between the visual and written arts.