birds, sketchbook, studies, Uncategorized

Nuthatch Troubles

Hyperactive popping. Tiny clinging birds hanging upside down over a tree hollow. They can’t, won’t sit still. The White-breasted Nuthatch is a fun bird to watch, challenging to draw well.

The pair of birds were one of my first sightings since I decided to level up my bird nerd status. This deep dive into bird watching inspired by the hidden footpaths of our little neighborhood sanctuary, Radburn park.

Field journal entries are now a diary of lamentations, hidden joys, accompanied by notes

Radburn Park is still accessible but plans have been turned on their head. Leaving our homes freely and frequently in Northern New Jersey has been discouraged. I won’t be taking the short walk to our park several times every week.

The Sunday stroll is now more golden. I look for ways to extend them throughout the week. Reading birding guides and visiting bird nerd websites like that of Cornell’s orinthology project. I sharpen my pen and ink work sketching landscapes, houses and stone bridges like the one found in the park.

Some of the many sketches to capture the Nuthatch’s energy and mapping feather patterns
The White-breasted Nuthatch’s favorite way to hang out is upside-down

And I obsess over a little bird that won’t sit still for a second. Frustrates my drawing hand with a nape and crown that blend into one narrow shape. I suffer over these sketches and couldn’t be happier.


Making a Big Splash on a Rainy Day

Last week on a dark and rainy morning I took a small dish of leftover water I had soaked the tip of a lovely Prussian blue crayon. I opened my sketchbook to a blank spread, held the dish of bright blue water above it and let it spill out across the two pages. I set it aside to dry while I moved on to other tasks.

In the afternoon I went back and stared at the arrangement of stains. The day needed some fun color. After doodling away a Koi out of the bottom larger stain I brought out a handful of companions to swim along.

I like creating sketchbook prompts like this to store away for a later time. I ended up giving in to impatience and playing with this spread on the same day but I try to set random backgrounds for myself in my sketchbook then forget about them. It’s a good way to break up a rut, create a creative challenge and have some impulsive fun.