I'm a person who loves books, the books with a spine and pages you can leaf through, the ones you curl up with in a comfortable chair. I think they are precious. And when it comes time to part with them to make room for more, hesitation is large. I love reading them and writing them. And, I love sketching and creating them.
It's a tiny book, by book standards, replicating the size of the sketchbook, but enormous in heart and inspiration. I look back on this endeavor--the observing of hawks, most secretive and illusive of creatures--and wonder at the energy and patience that got me through this season of observation. But I also remember the incredible excitement and beauty of seeing this pair of hawks during our first encounter. The combination of their accessibility and the unlikeliness of encountering them in such a casual way produced more intrigue than I could ignore. That they could be so close, and so ever present sent me into a spin. That I could sit in the shade of a gazebo, and watch their activity as though I were a plant in the garden, astounded me from the beginning.
Art is not an activity for the faint of heart. It challenges you inside and out, especially when that art is about something real, and alive and moving, and unpredictable. You, the artist, are the same, alive, moving, unpredictable. But you have trained yourself to be still, knowing what treasures are found while remaining invisible. And just when you think you might evaporate into nothingness with the waiting, a hawk appears, opens your heart and heightens all your senses. And a sketch is born, a visual story of all that you've taken in. Into your heart the hawk flies, and out through your hand and onto the paper.
This is the essence of Red-shouldered Hawk Territory, A sketchbook journey through nesting season--the story of one season's natural wonder through the heart and hand of an artist. I hope it inspires you to pick up a sketchbook and let your own story unfold.
Links and Resources:
It takes a talented team to create a book and Colin Hoffman, at High Resolutions, was tops to work with. He also lead the production of my boxed set of note cards, Autumn Birds. Visit High Resolutions to learn about the many printing services they offer.
My other partner in this endeavor was Nan Rudd of Rudd Designs, in New Glarus, WI. Nan was also the layout wizard for my joint venture with Operation Migration in the creation of the Craniac Kid's Whooping Crane Activity Book.
For more details about Red-shouldered Hawk Territory and to order visit: Red-shouldered Hawk Territory.
You will find all my posts on my experiences in Red-shouldered Hawk territory by clicking this link. The last post will appear first. Scroll to the bottom and click "older" to move backward to the first post.
For more information about the species, visit Cornell's site on Red-shouldered Hawks.