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, June 2022

What a delight is this Ruby Crowned Kinglet? Our area is right on the cusp of their migration, and my sister-in-law Diana was lucky enough to see one migrating through last year.

Ruby Crowned Kinglet
Ruby Crowned Kinglet

Maybe one day I’ll be fortunate enough to see one at our feeders; it’s such a joy to discover our migratory avian friends!

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!

Gentle Giraffe

When painting an animal, I usually take time to learn about them, hoping to feel more connected to the subject. Being the tallest mammal on Earth, a giraffe’s legs are taller than many humans—about 6 feet. Despite its length, a giraffe’s neck is still too short to reach the ground for a drink of water. As a result, the animal has to spread its front legs awkwardly or kneel to reach down!

Gentle Giraffe
Gentle Giraffe

A giraffe’s spots are much like human fingerprints and no two have exactly the same pattern. Most of these fun facts were new to me; did you know any of them? Thanks for stopping by!

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! 🙂

Fancy Frog

This fancy frog is a red-eyed tree frog, native to the tropics. As with most things in nature, this frog’s festive colors serve certain purposes. Its bright colors are defense mechanisms, and being green helps this amphibian blend in with leaves. If a predator spots a sleeping frog, it swoops in for a tasty meal, at which point the frog’s eyes pop open, revealing their vivid red color.

Fancy Frog
Fancy Frog

As the frog scrambles to get away, it untucks its brightly colored legs. The predator is so surprised by these sudden flashes of color that it is momentarily confused and hesitates, which gives the frog a split second to make its escape! How fascinating!