My kitchen window is a wonderful spot to sit and watch the world of nature move, breathe, and change with time and seasons. I’ve spent more hours than I dare admit gazing, observing, and simply day dreaming through that window, and it’s through that lens that I’d like to share a little bit of my world illustrated for you.
P.s. Also, it’s my first real experimentation with some animation – all hand painted using gouache paint.
August has drawn to a close and the rhythm of the woods is in flux once again. Since moving to the homestead, August has quickly become one of my favorite months of the year. Months of hard work and sweat are realized as the bounty of summer is at it’s finest in Wisconsin. Most of the birds are done nesting (So, I can finally take that sparrow’s nest out of the shutters!), and at last the wildflowers start blooming from the plants that look so weedy most of the summer. Best of all, the spring explosion of bugs and weeds has finally reached manageable levels and we get the occasional day of humidity reprieve. We are blessed to have quite an array of birds around our property, and a habitat that naturally attracts and sustains both permanent and migratory species. Since our time here, I’ve also grown quite fond of the Gray Catbird. Interestingly, they are considered to be elusive to most, though they are quite the opposite here and enjoyable to watch flitting about the yard and house. This year we even had one nest in a hydrangea bush right next to the porch, keeping a watchful and curious eye on me everyday as I would water the plants around her.
Now, with the change of seasons at hand and the forthcoming migration south of many bird species, including Gray Catbird, for the first time my heart is reluctant to watch August slip into September. For the time being, I still hear one or two Catbirds mew at me when I walk close to the edge of the woods; though their playing in the yard has ceased, I no longer see them dance around the house with tails flickering, and the constant chatter from the thickets are all but gone. In the spring it will all be renewed again, but for the moment, August has ended, and I can’t help but feel a bit like I’m saying a long goodbye to an old friend. So, till spring, farewell Gray Catbird.
I recently did this “quick” painting sketch in gouache. Inspiration; Midwest in August. 🙂
This painting was fun to work on, as this guy has become one of my favorite birds here. The Gray Catbird migrates to SW Wisconsin every spring, and our property has become a favorite hangout of theirs. Dark gray in color, they are easy to miss among the more colorful bird species, but if you take the time to watch and listen, you’ll find they make up for it in character. Their characteristic “cat-like” call is where they get their namesake, and while walking through the woods, or even down my drive, I always know where to spot them because I can hear them first. And if you ever get the opportunity to observe one up close, the subtleties in their color are a beautiful understatement, and they might just have a berry in their mouth!
The Porcupine Mountains in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is on the top of my list for favorite back country spots. It’s provided me with some spectacular photos (and memories), and so I thought I would honor this cherished spot with some inspired artwork.
This is just a start…
PS. I’m planning more “Porcupine inspired” pen drawings and also paintings in the near future as well.
Finding these beauties growing in my woods.
In medieval Gaelic and British culture, a bard was a professional story teller, verse-maker, poet, and music composer…
In my woods, I have my very own story teller, a Barred Owl, whose calls I can hear across the valley on a quiet evening.
A night of heavy rains and morning in the hollow was humming. The fog hung in the valley pocket as the sun began to rise over the bluff. Songbirds flitted about the treetops, and as I watched, the Sandhill Cranes flew through, silhouetted by the morning mist, adding the exclamation mark to the scene.
If there has to be a silver lining to our third snowstorm in April, it’s that we see more birds at the feeder and it begets some wonderful creative inspiration. A couple days ago I counted 13 different bird species at the feeder. And because I feel so sorry for all the poor migratory birds, I keep refilling it and attract more. So, i’m pretty sure we’ve fed all the songbirds in the valley now. And one Eastern Cottontail.
As a side note, I put dried cranberries out for the robins and they pretty much flipped me off and dug holes through the strip of snow-free mulch around the house instead. WormsTasteBetter!
Welcome to my world in the woods! This is simply a place where I can put “pen to paper” my creative whims and musings. You can learn more about my inspiration here.
Thanks for stopping by,