Draw A Bird, September 2022

We just returned from an adventurous trip to Alaska and are blessed to have visited there twice. This trip was planned for August 2020, but “you-know-what” happened and the trip was cancelled. Things seemed pretty much back to normal, but some restaurants had closed and some places were short-staffed, but that seems to be the current situation all over the U.S.

Previously I made scrapbooks of our travel adventures but stopped doing so a few years ago. When we moved last year, I realized just how many trip scrapbooks I’ve made, how much work I put into them, and how little we look at them. However, after each trip that I did not scrap, there was a feeling of disappointment and let-down because nothing was documented and because we had just a smattering of photos on our cell phones. However, I think I’ve found a happy medium.

On a YouTube video, Lindsay Weirich (The Frugal Crafter) featured handmade watercolor sketchbooks gifted by an Etsy shopkeeper, ArtsiRosi. I purchased a small book made with Arches cold press watercolor paper (the best), packed up a Portable Painter Watercolor Palette, a Derwent push-button water brush, and a few other essentials. Sketching our way through Alaska and detailing some of the highlights was so satisfying and fun. I drew and painted in the car while traveling from city to city, in the evenings, and on the plane.

View from the Plane
View from the Plane

Because it is Draw A Bird day (unofficially), here are two of the many species of birds we saw. I have always wanted to see a Puffin in its own environment, and boy were there puffins (horned and tufted)! The ravens are bold and huge and likely could feed a family of four, but that’s probably not recommended 😉

Tufted Puffin
Tufted Puffin
Nevermore, A Common Raven

It’s joyful to remember where these quick-ish sketches (definitely not masterpieces) were created, and the plan is to feature some favorites over the next couple of weeks. Do you document your trips? What methods do you use? Take care ❤

Draw A Bird, July 2022

Because it’s July and we just celebrated the birthday of the USA, I painted a bald eagle, our national bird.

American Bald Eagle

Did you know that three birds were voted upon for the USA’s official national symbol: an eagle, a dove, and a turkey? Although the eagle is a symbol of strength and courage, good old Ben Franklin felt it was a bird of “bad moral character” and that the turkey was a much more respectable bird and more “North American.” I would have voted for the dove, a symbol of peace, love, and freedom. I don’t like to talk politics, but somehow, at this point, maybe Ben Franklin’s choice might have been more appropriate, and the quizzical look on this eagle’s face seems to agree. 🙂

Draw A Bird, May 2022

This portrait of a bossy blue jay was a pleasure to paint: so calming and meditative, which is the exact opposite of a blue jay’s personality!

While they are known to be bullies at the feeders, they also “jeer” a loud call in order to track their mates and to warn of impending threats. When that happens, all the birds fly off and take cover.

Bossy Blue Jay
Bossy Blue Jay

Hearing their urgent, incessant caws gets our attention, too, and we try to figure out what all the squawking is about. Usually it is a cat or large raptor getting too close for comfort. Blue jays truly are the town criers of the avian species!

Draw A Bird, April 2022

This pert parrot is an interesting bird and can be quite a spectacle with its vibrant feathers and noisy caws.

Pert Parrot
Pert Parrot

My first experience of such a bird was when I was a young teen, and my Great-Aunt Grace’s “Polly” summered with us. Polly was a delightful bird with slightly different coloring than what a painted, and we enjoyed interacting with her and hearing her playful verbiage. While she was with us, Polly molted, and I still have one of her beautiful feathers amongst my keepsakes, as well as a reel-to-reel recording of her squawking and sayings. If only I had a player for those tapes!

That reminds me . . . Great-Aunt Grace also owned a bar with a resident mynah bird that knew some saucy phrases. Let’s save that for another post, or not! 🙂

Draw A Bird, March 2022

March makes me think of green because of St. Patrick’s Day, which led me to paint a green and blue peacock. Of course, a male peafowl is called a peacock, a female is called a peahen, and a baby is called a peachick.

Pretty Plumage
Pretty Plumage

Peafowl are forest birds that nest on the ground but roost in trees. Peafowl are believed to be polygamous. The males possess metatarsal spurs or “thorns” on their legs used during territorial fights with some other members of their kind.

I remember peacocks and peahens free-ranging at the Cincinnati Zoo when I was a youngster and am happy that this no longer occurs, which surely makes for less-stressed peafowl. Can you imagine how they probably were chased, fed, and “petted?” We are familiar with a local farm that has re-homed the zoo’s peafowls and are happy to learn about their gentler, quieter lives.

Draw A Bird, February 2022

How have you been? I hope the winter hasn’t been too unforgiving in your area. It’s been pretty cold, icy, and snowy around here, but then again, what can we expect for February in the Midwest?

Western Tanager
Western Tanager

That said, I wanted to paint a bright, colorful bird, and this Western Tanager certainly fits the bill. Get it? Bird, bill? Sorry about the bad pun 🙂 These beauties are found in the warmer Western states, and I can’t say I blame them, especially at this time of year. Stay warm and safe out there!