Ten weeks of working at home has meant a lot of things, including isolation, quiet, and focus. It has afforded opportunities to more closely observe the unfolding of spring and the comings and goings of birds in and around our property. Every. Single. Day. As you can see from the Bird Map, there’s a lot to watch. We’ve recorded more than fifty different species– some are just passing through, but we see or hear the ones that made the map nearly every day.

There’s a lot of information on this map—too much maybe—but it serves as a useful visual record (click the map to view full size). Bird populations may change from year to year, globally and locally. For example, tree swallows didn’t make this map, though they nested here just last year. They haven’t disappeared, they have simply taken up residence in my neighbor’s nest boxes. Ten years from now, it will be interesting to look back at the Bird Map and see who is calling this place home.

Tips and Techniques– When making a map, I use Google Maps as a reference to get a good aerial perspective. It works whether you are zooming in on a single property or outlining a larger region or country. Begin by sketching a rough outline in pencil and then embellish it with ink or color as you like. Consider whether there are elements that you can add that would lend a unique flavor to the map. The color scheme of the place you are visiting, elements of local art or architecture, indigenous plants or wildlife, or a unique label will help to convey the place you are trying to capture.

Along the Roadside in June

The Artist Sketchbook, Mondays: July 13,20, 27 and August 3.
I am excited to announce that I will be teaching an online Zoom class through the Winslow Art Center in Bainbridge Island, Washington. Visit the workshops page or head to the Winslow Art Center site for details and registration.

16 Comments on “Home

  1. What a great idea! I need to do this! I think it would help (me anyway) to keep track of when and where I’m seeing our local birds. My next journal project. Thank you.

  2. Dear Jean, that’s so wonderful! What a great idea to sketch and paint this map. I love love love it! And so many different birds! Would love to wander the place and try if I can see and find them at the spots! I also love that inmidst of all the sorrow and pain this pandemic has brought to so many people there is something so wonderful created too. You and yours stay safe and healthy! Liisa

    • Hi Liisa— thank you. I sometimes struggle with the role of art with the pandemic and protests raging. But I know that nature connections can offer perspective, respite, and healing, so I press forward. Be well, Jean

  3. That sounds like the perfect thing to do, to me. And what a rich variety of habitats you have! No wonder there are so many birds on the map. I’m glad you’re doing a Zoom class. I don’t know Winslow Art Center but I’ve only been on Bainbridge a few times. I hope it all goes very smoothly. 🙂

  4. Hi Jean—this bird map is superb! It must have been fun to do, and certainly is interesting to look at. You have quite a sanctuary there. And of course, you have the knowledge to put names to the bird calls. (I certainly wish I did!)

  5. What a cool idea ! I have sketched every bird I saw in my yard last year in the month of April and was surprised how many visit us! – doing that helped me see the big picture 🙂 I knew they all visited us but had not until then listed and counted them – over 40 ! May be I will draw a map sometime soon ! I too have been struggling with art not during pandemic but the past few days in light of the protests -and injustice in world around. Nature offers so much beauty as it shows the ugly side of some. Thanks !

    • I have struggled, too, with taking time for art during the protests. I took this week off from my job and it is helping me find a better balance. Enjoy “your” birds — there is so much to learn and sketch. — Jean

  6. Hi Jean, This map reminded me of your article “Drawn to the Coast”. I was able to get a copy of that magazine when it came out & LOVE your work in it. I was just asked by a friend (who says she “likes my style”) to recommend some of my favorite artists. You were at the very top of the list. And I just forwarded her a copy of your web post about this article. It’s such a nice representation of what you do so beautifully. (As an aside: I’m so glad you’re younger than I – I figure you’ll be around a while…….)

  7. What an amazing record. Do you do the bird count in your neighbourhood? Happy Independence Day.

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