Draw A Bird Day (September Rewind) Tues. 9/8!

Time flies. And so did WordPress, on August 8th, when so many artists honored our feathered friends in their favorite medium.

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A little birdie wanted you to know that the eighth of September occurs the day after Labor Day here in the US. If you would like to help make WordPress fly once again for the monthly rebroadcast of Draw A Bird Day (brought to our attention in April by M. R. Emberson of A-Wing and A-Way), please post your contribution then. I’ll do a recap of all of the entries once again this month, so no one will miss out on the fun!

This little painting was brought to you by the good folks at Derwent and their Inktense line of pencils, along with my Cotman travel watercolor palette.   Fly high and free! Peace.

Smiling to Life

I’ve been very fortunate to find many kindred spirits here on WordPress who love art, photography, flowers…and Beth, of Beth’s Floral Photography and Smiling to Life (Betulaworldpress.com) loves all three, and is a lovely person, to boot!  Beth graciously gave me permission to paint an image of poppies she photographed from her own garden. The images can be found here. Beth has over 100,000 images (!!!) in her collection, and you can find her work for sale at this link, as well. These are amazing images, truly. Thank you most kindly, Beth!

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I’m still working on my florals, and particularly in watercolor, they present a challenge. I was about to sign this one off as an art fail, but Hub said I should post it. So here it is. I hope to improve on it next time out!

Happy Friday to one and all, and do I need to mention tail feathers?! I didn’t think so. Peace, and Happy Weekend ahead!   Don’t forget Draw A Bird day tomorrow, for anyone who’d like to join in!

You, Yourself…..and You

I’ve been keeping a daily art journal now for about six weeks (thank you again, Jill, for your wise suggestion)! I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to look back at my own little art history in this cool little book.

So, for the letter Y, I thought I would encourage all of you to do the same. I guess diaries are ok. But how many of us have tried and failed to keep one? I know I have, countless times. This is different. This is pure fun. It’s a great excuse to drag out the art supplies for a bit while watching the ball game, or before going to sleep at night.   Or whenever!

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Take this drawing, for example. I was very tired; it was time for bed. Then I realized that I almost forgot my art journal entry (egads)!   It’s messy; it was done in a hurry.   Ink can’t be erased, blah blah blah.  But it’ll make me smile every time I see this pretty flower.  Will it ever be framed? Of course not. But that’s what an art journal is about. It’s art without pressure. Art for pure fun. Art like a first grader, purely for the joy of doing it!

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 I’ve mentioned before that I love the Strathmore visual art journals.  You can find a selection of them here.   They take light watercolor washes, collage, Tombow markers and more, all without bleeding (and very little buckling, if any).  They’re inexpensive and portable.     They come in all sizes, with all different types of paper.   I promise you hours of fun and (hopefully) months and years of memories to look back on forever.   Something to pass down to your kids, friends, people who want to remember you!    Best of all, it’s for you.  No matter what your skill level, you will improve with a daily practice.  No one has to see it, so who cares if it looks good or not?   Just my two cents.

Happy Saturday, thanks for reading, and I wish YOU time for YOU today.   And I hope all of the dads have a wonderful Father’s Day weekend.   I’ll be making gluten free crabcakes with Maryland crab meat.  Looking forward to it!  😀   Peace, love, and lots of arty goodness to you and yours.

Just a Poem for Mother’s Day

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Normally I post a drawing, sketch, painting, or doodle every day….but this post from Jodi at Life in Between inspired me instead to post a poem I wrote for my daughter on Mother’s Day, 2007, when she was 16. I hope you enjoy it, and don’t miss Jodi’s post, too, if you have a minute.

“Reflections of My Daughter on Mother’s Day, 2007”

You started out as a tiny seed we planted
with hopeful prayers one Father’s Day
And, like a miracle,
you took root and grew
Sprouting into a pink, wriggling wonder –
ten fingers and toes and your dad’s perfect nose
Wide-eyed and expectant, with the whole world
and your whole life stretching before you.

My fragile little sprout
became a tender seedling,
A grinning, chubby face,
plump little arms outstretched,
Fists filled with smiling yellow dandelions,
or clover, fresh-picked,
And a crayoned picture sprinkled with
special stickers you saved just for me.

From an eager seedling, struggling for
light and independence,
You’ve blossomed into a strong, intelligent,
proud, and beautiful young woman,
Standing on her own ground,
ready to blaze a new trail
Into a future shining with fresh possibilities,
and brimming with the fruits of your efforts.

This Mother’s Day, I stand in awe,
beaming in the presence of my daughter.
I see my baby’s first smile, and
my toddler’s first steps.
I see my Kindergartener’s first day, and
my teenager’s first guitar solo.
I see your first breath,
and your first Homecoming dress.

My pride overflows.
I see your potential –
the possibilities,
the promise,
the hope.

I love you, A.
Happy Mother’s Day.

Draw a Bird Day (warm-up)

First of all, I want to thank the Backyard Bird Nerd for her amazingly tight, crisp photos of the rose-breasted grosbeak.   These photos beg anyone who’s interested in bird art to grab a pencil or brush.   They are incredible shots, every one of them!  I may feature these photos all week, since we’re celebrating birds on Friday, and there are so many great photos to choose from here.  She captures these birds in the cutest poses, too!  I encourage you to take a look at them. 

In preparation for this month’s version of Draw a Bird Day on the eighth, I decided to show an abbreviated version of my process for approaching a bird drawing.  I learned this from watching YouTube videos of The Frugal Crafter and from reading this book at the end of last year; I am by no means an expert.  I could draw nothing in September, 2014.   People I know still can’t believe I can draw.  Honestly, I am the most surprised of anyone.  I think it comes down to a real interest and diligent practice.  This means if I can do it, so can anyone else. 

 Step One:  The first thing I try to do is get a feel for the angle and shape of the bird’s head and body.  Think of the bird in a few basic shapes.  Keep it simple.  The head is roughly the shape of a grape or a football, the body is usually an egg-shape.  The tail may be different shapes, depending upon your angle to the bird, but the important thing to keep in mind really is the angle of the tail in relationship to the body.  I’ve roughed in my head, body and tail here.   Don’t be afraid to go over the shapes lightly with your pencil again and again, until you feel like you have them placed about right.

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Step Two:   Once the head, body, and angle of the tail are placed, it’s time to begin to define the shapes a bit.   I’m focusing on creating an outline of the bird’s entire figure at this point, including the wing(s), of course.

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Step Three:  Once you feel you have a good approximation of the outline of the bird, turn to the inside.  Sketch out areas of any color change, draw in the eye and beak details, and sketch in the legs and feet.  At this point, there will invariably be stray lines or areas where the drawing has gone a bit awry, and now’s the time to make those corrections.  I don’t usually add the perch until I have an idea where the feet are going to be.  That comes in last.

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Due to time limitations, this isn’t a very detailed tutorial.  However, I’ll try and flesh out some more details and give some more hints in my posts this week.   It’s a real pleasure to draw these images.   The great thing about WordPress is there are so many photographers here who love to capture birds.   Just do a keyword search for “photography” here and you’ll find lots of blogs specializing in bird photos!    If I remember, I’ll try and mention a bird photography blog all this week, as well.  Another great source for tight photos of birds is Paint My Photo (something else I learned from The Frugal Crafter.  Thanks, Lindsay!)

I hope you’ve found this post helpful.    Keep tuning in for more bird drawing “lessons” this week!    Let’s make WordPress fly this Friday, May 8!  Peace and Happy Monday to you.

Draw a Bird Day reminder: Friday, May 8!

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Thanks to A-Wing and A-Way letting so many of us know about Draw A Bird Day on April 8, many of us had fun drawing or painting birds on April 8.  Some drew a bird for the first time, and found it be lots of fun!  However, many people weren’t aware of the holiday until it was too late.  So, some of us decided it might be fun to make this a monthly event!   I also want to thank Squirrel Writer for helping to spread the word!

For my friends who may not be comfortable with drawing:  Do not let this sideline you, if you are interested in participating!  Anything goes:  Photographs, stories or poems about a bird, a little sculpture, a nature collage, you are only limited by your imagination.  I think what we’re trying to do here is open the cage door and let the birdies fly.  That’s us!  We all have wings, and sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to open them.  Let the spirit move you as it will.

Friday, May 8 is a week from today, and I hope we can all make WordPress fly to celebrate our wing-ed friends.

Draw a Bird Every Month?

I saw this post on A Wing and A Way and learned that April 8 is a very special holiday called Draw a Bird Day.   A bunch of us took part today, creating artwork in various media in which birds played starring roles.   It was fun! 

 

   

The best part is some of us picked up a pencil or a brush for the first time in awhile (or ever!), and found the joy in creating art.   It’s a magical thing, truly.  

What do you all think about doing this every month, on the eighth of the month?    Birds are such powerful symbols of freedom and peace, and even patriotism.     What better way for us all to take flight, to shake off those defeating beliefs and doubts that say we must have some kind of mythical gift to be able to put pencil to paper?    Let’s fly, people!

I’m in!    Anyone else?    Next Draw a Bird Day…..Friday, May 8th?