"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it."
-- Norman Maclean
we soon discovered an abundant variety of bird life
the birds, it turned out, thrived on our diverse insect population
Well, that was my family's experience after our two-month adventure in Europe; we loved every breathtaking, awe-inspiring moment we had spent abroad and we were ever so much more appreciative of all the marvelous things (both big and small) that made our little corner of the world unique.
and the variety of insects was made possible by a plethora of colorful wildflowers
So, after we settled into our new home, we decided to take some time to explore and discover the wonders to be found in our back yard. Well, as it turned out, there was a stretch of the Clear Fork of the Trinity River running through our back yard: a stretch that the Army Corps of Engineers hadn't channelized and deforested when that was the popular method of flood control in the mid-20th century. And "some time" turned into a 12-month voyage of discovery as we studied everything from native flora, fauna, geological formations, fossilized remains, and local history.
everywhere we looked we found artifacts of earlier inhabitants
The result was a greater awareness of our wonderful little corner of the world we live in, a greater appreciation for this Place and its history, a curio cabinet full of "treasures", and a journal that captured a sense the sublime variety and diversity (and our firsthand experience) of it all.
and, as we learned which insects our local fish thrived on,
we also learned to imitate their appearance with our hand-tied fishing flies
A Tools of the Trade Update --
On September 18th -- five months to the day after I last topped off my TWSBI Mini clear demo fountain pen -- I finally had to refill it: not because it was skipping or because the nib was drying out, but simply because I was running out of ink! I rinsed the Mini with clear water (only because I had decided to rotate colors) and refilled the pen with (as TWSBI fans have come to expect) no difficulties of any kind. What a pen!
What a wonderful array of sketches, Earnest. Do you work from photos when doing these pages? I can't imagine that your son held up that bass for the time it would take to sketch it :-)ReplyDelete
I'm having the same experience with my TWSBI Mini. It's an amazing pen that probably pays for itself just in less ink evaporation, but clearly in terms of frustration.
Cheers --- Larry
Thanks Larry. I prefer to work from life whenever possible -- although the out-of-body work can be tricky -- but, like Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec, am quite happy to use whatever gets the job done. :-DDelete
...I'm not one to judge such things. I was just curious. I struggle with motivation to work from photos but I will be forced to by snow in a couple months :-) In many ways it opens up your options as some things won't sit still, like those insects you sketched.Delete
Cheers --- Larry
No worries, Larry. Photography is just like any tool option we have as artists, and each one of us is completely free to choose which tools are of use to us individually. For me, personally, I often find it useful to take a reference photo (carefully observing form, lighting, color, environment, etc.) and then jot down my immediate (and oh-so fleeting) thoughts, emotions, and reactions in my little Clairefontaine notebook.Delete
Interestingly, though, none of the insects I sketched here were done from photos. We found the firefly out during the day (so I suspect she may have been unwell) and she was quite content to sit very still in my daughter's hand; we found the grasshopper basking while out on one of our early morning bike rides and (as long as my son kept his glove turned to the Sun) the little fella was pleased to just soak up the rays; the dragonfly nymph had just crawled out of the river and we all sat and watched its slo-mo emergence into adulthood; and the red wasp paid me a visit during a plain-air painting session. (I have no idea why the wasp found my French color box so appealing as a roost, but I was able to complete both sketch & watercolor before we parted company.)
Sometimes it seems that the more patient I am with Nature, the more willing She is to share Her secrets with me. :-D
Once again, your sketchbook scans look great! :) My favourite is the hawk!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Katrin. Even though the river is less than 20 meters from our kitchen door, the hawk was a BIG surprise; I was watching my children playing with their friends when this beautiful little killer chased an entire flock of sparrows into the nearby hedge (just 3 meters way)... and emerged with his catch. We were all stunned in amazement! (And, of course, the first words out of our mouths were, "Did you see THAT?")Delete
You draw beautifully and your commentary is so nicely presented. Would you consider publishing this wonderful book? It would be a tutorial for anyone who wants to record a journey - whether out to other places or in to one's own place. Thanks so much for sharing.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Lee. Yes, I certainly would consider publishing a book. In fact, ever since I collaborated with Danny Gregory on "An Illustrated Journey" I've been looking for a publisher for a "how to" field guide and/or facsimiles of my travel journals. (Any chance you're in the publishing business?) :-DDelete
You grabbed me from the first picture and the Norman Mclean quote! We are just back from Missoula and camping on the Blackfoot. My sketches of my husband fishing are not nearly as wonderful as yours of your son. I second the vote for publishing some kind of "how to" field guide.ReplyDelete
Thanks Diane. Montana is certainly high on my personal list of natural wonders I'd love to create a journal around. My wife recently informed me of a publisher that's looking for new writer/artist. So, it just might happen (if enough people keep their fingers crossed). In the meantime, I hope you'll stay tuned for our future adventures.Delete
Wonderful blogpost! Your pictures are so inspiring---your artwork is amazing!ReplyDelete