Saturday, January 6, 2018

New Year Musings 2018

This is supposed to be a nice note celebrating the New Year.  I know, I know.  I’m a little late but we still have a lot of year to go so I suspect you’ll forgive me.

My owl looking off into the dusk represents looking back on the year just past.  I love owls ... all owls.  Seeing an owl always makes my heart sing.  Just hearing one lifts my spirits.  This past year may not have been perfect, but there was a lot of good in it .... just like I don’t get to see an owl everyday, but when I do, I appreciate it and look forward to the next.  
The bald eagles are looking forward to the year ahead.  They appear on page one of a new sketchbook.  There is a little reservoir just a few miles from here where we often see the two eagles hanging out during the winter.  Breeding season comes early for eagles.   We’re already seeing them sitting close to each other. 

I don’t usually start a new sketchbook at the New Year.  It just happened that way.  My 9x6 ‘hiking sketchbook’ had just filled up.  There is a feeling of anticipation when I start a new sketchbook or journal.  I’ve heard other artists comment that they feel intimidated by that first page.  All that blank white paper waiting for the first stroke.  I only get that way when I’ve splurged on an especially fancy sketchbook.  Meanwhile I’m itching to start filling my pages.  My only rule is I keep my ‘working sketchbooks’ for my own life – they are a reflection of my life.  If I’m working on a project for something else, the art goes somewhere else.  When I open my sketchbook and see a chickadee, that chickadee brings back a specific memory.  I may have drawn it from life or I may have drawn it from a photo I took that day .... but it comes from my life, from my heart.  

I just need to thumb through old sketchbooks I see highlights of years past.  My time appreciating nature is precious to me.  I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to see as much as I do. 

In my Christmas mail this year a good friend asked me, “Do you ever get a wild hair and desire to visit other parts of the world?.... Aren’t you just a tiny bit curious?” 

That got me to pondering on just who I am and what I want.  When I started this blog I posted the quote off to the right:   ‘Aldo Leopold expressed it beautifully, “There are are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.”  I certain count myself amongst the latter.’

That little quote sums it up quite nicely.  Getting outside and savoring the breeze, feeling the sun, watching a bee fly buzzing ... all those things are important to me.  Yes, I could also do it in far exotic places, but along with it would come a big dose people and planes.  How much time would I have to enjoy the solitude of being by myself in nature. When I am with a group I never feel that oneness with nature. 

... and I like understanding what I’m am seeing.  I like learning about how acorn woodpeckers work together as an extended family;  I looking forward to them filling their granary next fall and the next.  The acorn woodpeckers are part of my life.  I feel for them when a jay comes in trying to steal their acorns; I shake my head when one decides a metal pipe is a great place to drop his nuts.  I have drawn them a dozen times, yet I look forward to drawing them again in the year ahead.

... and I enjoy sharing some of my experiences with you, my blog readers.  I hope to open your eyes a little, so that you, too, pause and savor the world around you.  No matter where you live, even in the city, nature is there .... and facinating.
I'm ending with another owl, this one a barred owl.  I drew it from a photo a friend, Susan Bushard .  Those deep, dark eyes were just itching to be drawn.  


  1. Happy New Year Elva. Love seeing your sketches here. Those eyes as you say...

  2. Happy New Year, Elva! Thank you for the lovely and important message!! Best wishes, Sadami

  3. Happy New year to you too Elva, a lovely thoughtful post.

  4. Well said, Elva. Often when we are traveling, one of us will comment, “Wish Dale and Elva were with us to see this,” but we know you two are busy at home. You inspire us to look more closely at everything in nature. All those things you have taught us about really looking at the behavior of insects, birds, mammals, reptiles, etc. would be missed without the time you spend watching, studying, and researching. The beautiful art, photos, and prose are the icing on the cake. There is still so much to see and learn right in front of us.

  5. What a wonderful way to head into the new year! Thank you for sharing your observations with those of us who don't get out as much. You continue to be inspirational in so many ways!

  6. A post to ponder. And good as usual. I think most people miss nature right outside their doors because they don't look. Sketching and using a camera keeps one tuned into life around us as well as out in nature. I love it when you share your sketches with us too.

  7. Wonderful post, thank you! As Cris notes, many people miss nature, even when it is right there. Even here in San Francisco, there is significant nature even in the midst of a large city. Just the other day, walking a trail in Glen Canyon Park, a great horned owl hooted...

  8. I just popped over from a blog I found today (Claire's Sketchbook) and started perusing some of the blogs she follows. Yours obviously was one of them and I am so happy to find that you are still blogging! I love nature and observing the details involved in making up a story describing those details I've been privy to see. I write but love the stories you write with your paintbrush... looking forward to visiting often in this bright new year of 2018!
    Hugs for now from snowy brrrrrr New Hampshire...