In the Quiet

No bigger than a small lemon, and with an equally yellow cap, the golden crowned kinglet is a tiny harbinger of spring. Never still for more than a few seconds, it flits busily among the trees, its high-pitched song easier to hear than the bird itself is to find. So I sit quietly, binoculars in hand, and wait. Soon enough, several appear—and disappear, and appear again, in a game of hide and seek that goes on for most of the afternoon. I can’t capture the movement, so I go for the lemon and the bird and the quiet instead, happy to keep this reminder of the day between these pages.

“Best of any song
is bird song
in the quiet
but first you must have the quiet.
— Wendell Berry

33 Comments on “In the Quiet

  1. Thank you for sharing. I hope I see one of these playful little gems! Are they in Maine?

  2. The simplicity of the art, plus poem is lovely. Kinglets are one of my favorite birds that appear on the drive way to our house. I have seen only a few this past year, reasons I cannot explain.

    • Thanks! This is our first spring in our home/property, so we are enjoying seeing what is here– plants, flowers, birds, frogs, etc. Wishing you more kinglet sightings!

  3. So lovely and delicate. What pen & nib size did you use, please, to get such a delicate line? I assume your light touch makes a difference, as well. I adore you work and it is such a delight to receive e-mails of your blog and watercolors.

    • Hi Elizabeth– I didn’t use pen & nib for this, instead, I drew the bird and lemon with a Micron 005 pen and did the lettering with a Micron 02. I went back and thickened the downstrokes to create the pen/nib effect. Thanks for your nice comment– I’m glad you enjoy getting my art in your inbox!

      • Your reply is so helpful. I have been trying out pens, being new to keeping a watercolor and pen sketchbook. I like your Micron line much better than the fine nib on my Lamy Safari which is a new pen for me in my search for what suits me. I ma on a trip & my Lamy ran out of ink during a sketch, so I switched to one of the disposal pens I brought. I think it was a Micron. I like its line quality better, so I was glad I had run out of ink in my Lamy. My kit is out in the car, so I’ll check the brand.

        My husband and I go “back East” to spend time in the Adirondacks, every year, so I hope I can extend a trip to take one of your classes after I improve my skills. I have had a 40-year hiatus since I was an art student at the University of Texas and a commercial artist, way back in the 1970’s. It’s been FAR too long to live without drawing and painting. Your work is very inspirational and a motivation to me to MAKE TIME to sketch.

        Thank you for sharing your lovely drawings and your advice through your blog.

      • I had a Lamy Safari and a Noodlers Flex pen and found both to be too heavy (even at EF). I also tended to smear the ink before it dried. So while I like the line quality of a fountain pen, i just haven’t found one I really like or can take in the field as easily as the Micron. Staedler pens are similar. Feel free to let me know when you are in NY– you don’t need to wait to “improve your skills” to be in touch. Perhaps we could meet more casually than a workshop and just sketch together.

      • I couldn’t figure out how to reply to your suggestion that we might sketch, together, in NY. There wasn’t a Reply box on your Reply to my comment, so I didn’t realize that I needed to go to the bottom of this page to write a reply. When I couldn’t figure out how to reply, I sent an e-mail to you using an e-mail address I found on your webpage. I invited you to visit me in THE ADIRONDACKS for sketching and I attached some photos.

  4. beautiful! molto bello! Next Tuesday I’ll go to Euroflora, I think you would like a lot this European flowers exhibition, I’ll try to paint the most possible. all my best regards. Margot

  5. Just yesterday my husband excitedly reported to me that he’d seen a very tiny bird flitting around the tree tops. He couldn’t identify it as to color or markings but he repeatedly said it was ‘tiny’ smaller than a chickadee. I suspected a kinglet. So I sketched one in my journal. Imagine my surpriise to see your post! This is a precious picture! I just love it.

  6. I just love how he sits on the lemon… very sweet. And the Berry quote is perfect, too.

  7. Jean, We are looking for the soon to nest a Killdeer around the lake. Your new post Shows how productive the Nature Journal keeps one. This is a great time of the year for me with all the bird activity. Great drawing—— Dane Farner

    Sent from my iPad


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