Tag Archive | watercolor

Gilt Edged Tanager (Draw a Bird Day)

I Dream of Brigid

In the beginning I was alone, carefully unwinding the wormlike stem of a large plant.  It seemed like a cactus to me at first, but gradually it reshaped itself into a huge iridescent flower.  I was surprised to suddenly find that instead of tendrils I was in possession of two glittering aqua and golden wings.  They opened my arms like bridges in the street of the sky.

Night walks, scattering poems, uncoiled in a spiraling serpent around me.  Feathers became flaming scales became feathers again, mercurial rainbows scattering glowing seeds, crossing and recrossing the portal that explored every direction between the darkness and the light.

My blood began to sing, an echo of bells vibrating, calling my name.  All the words I had lost or abandoned returned to me, transformed into candled threads sailing like a sea of flames on a river of stars.

I really did have this dream, at least the first part, which led me to look for a bird that fit those wings. The gilt edged tanager came closest. Native to Brazil, its habitat is fragmented, and though not considered endangered, the population is found primarily in protected reserves of moist lowland subtropical forests.

There are close to 400 species of birds in the tanager family. A few species live in the United States, but most of these colorful birds live in Central and south America.

Tanagers are associated with the goddess Brigid, which seems odd since they are not native to Ireland. But many cultures, including the Japanese, consider them to be messengers from the spirit world. They do look magical.

The story of my dream was written for dVerse prosery, where Linda provided a line from ee cummings, in the street of the sky night walks scattering poems, to be included in what we wrote.

I was not really happy with any of my renderings of this bird when I did them, but they are growing on me. In order: colored pencil, gouache, inkpen with watercolor, neocolor. It’s been a long time since I painted with gouache.

9/11/2022

remember—(breathe)–
sky clear crisp blue–
time stands still once again–
ghostname voices–
bone rattled leaves–
bottomless sings the wind

I’ve rearranged some of my previous poetry from 9/11 into a Laurette poem for Muri’s scavenger hunt. Images also from past posts.

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.

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!

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.

when skies tendril (May 2021)

It’s May! I haven’t done any artwork for a month, having used art from the archives for my April NaPoWriMo posts at kblog. So it felt good yesterday to ignore the moving boxes and pull out my watercolors and paint. I did two paintings, below–a landscape and some impressionistic flowers.

I then cut them into one inch strips and wove them together for my grid. I also did some further experiments, cutting some of the strips into one inch squares and arranging them in different ways. But that’s for another day with more time to think.

The moon visited me at dawn yesterday. It was dancing with the clouds. The Oracle managed to insert it into my May verse. Well we know how She feels about the moon.

wild winds grow full
of flowers
listen to Maysongs
birds seeding spring air
with gardens rooted deep
in the fertile paths
that follow the wandering moon

Eagle Owl (draw a bird day)

spread your wings
carry the night in
silent flight

The eagle owl is both one of the largest and longest-lived owls. With wing spans up to 6 feet, it has no natural predators, although it is sometimes mobbed by crows. The leading causes of death– electrocution, hunting, and poisoning–are man-made.

Nesting on cliffs or rocky outcrops, it has a wide distribution throughout Europe and Asia. I love its binomial name–Bubo Bubo.

Eagle owls are solitary, territorial, and nocturnal. They can more often be heard, having a large number of vocalizations, than seen.

For Colleen’s #TankaTuesday, poet’s choice.

renderings

I re-
turn to the earth
reflected as shadow–
silhouette echoing
the places I
have been

For Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above, in the Badger’s Hexastitch form for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday poet’s choice. I’ve decided to try a new syllabic form each month.

Happy to have Sue’s photos back as inspiration!