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.|