I mentioned in my anniversary post how much blogging has not only been a place to create, but an inspiration. And that inspiration is often provided by my fellow bloggers.
Round Robin caught my eye this week with Hugh's post on the Great Backyard Bird Count. Then I noticed how many other bloggers were participating. So I read about it and decided to count too. My first day, I felt hesitation, mainly about busy birds that won't keep still while you try to count them. But this nervousness quickly fades. You just do the best you can and go! And even if you are a beginner like me, there's a primer on ebird that will jump start your understanding of how this thing we call "counting" really works.
Nancy at the Zen Birdfeeder posted her bird count yesterday with some nice information about pine siskins. She also posted two convenient links to the Cornell site with helpful information. I visited the links and explored the "Top Ten" and guess what! At the time I'm writing this post, Knoxville, TN ranks #5 in "Localities Submitting the Most Checklists". Do you think that makes me glad I decided to participate? What a fun surprise!
Today I also took a few minutes to sketch and paint the male and female purple finches in my sketch book (the ones that aren't showing up for the count). The female was a joy to draw. I sketched her several days ago. But the male has been a different experience!
Actually, my first try looks like a pretty close sketch as I post it here. But remember in my last post I referred to "finch shapes" and how the eye integrates shapes with practice? Well, I grew up on a farm and we had roosters. Every time I walked away from this sketch and came back to look at it again, that finch face turned into a rooster! And that just wouldn't do.
I realized there were two shapes battling for my attention, the shape of his head and the shape of those fluffed up feathers. So I erased the top lines and concentrated on the shape of his face without the fluffed up feathers.
And then I added the shading for the fluffed feathers and adjusted some lines in his bill.
Still not perfect, but I stopped seeing a rooster. By this time my sketch paper is getting pretty worn and my doubting voice is starting to taunt me, "how do you think you're going to sketch in the field with all this erasing?" And since I have to have the last word, I answered. "Practice...and patience. Besides, I'll start with a plant."
For the Love of It...
...the sage sees heaven reflected in Nature as in a mirror, and he pursues this Art, not for the sake of gold or silver, but for the love of the knowledge which it reveals.