New Life for an Old Post

An old and increasingly rotted split-rail fence lines the side of our driveway and, as long as you don’t look closely or lean on it, it adds character. Replacing the whole thing is “a project” which, as any homeowner can appreciate, means money, time, and labor. Alas, it’s staying put for now. This week I was delighted to spy a pair of chickadees excavating a nest cavity in one of the posts that no longer has a rail. They’d slip inside, hammer away at the soft interior, and come out with beak-fulls of wood chips. By today, the cavity looks about as deep and wide as they can go without breaking through the walls. I can’t wait to see what comes next and to continue working on this page as the story unfolds.

Tips and Techniques- When you know you have more to come to flesh out a page, it’s worthwhile to think through your layout. You don’t have to plan everything, but you need to give yourself options. Over the next few weeks, I hope to be able to add more to this page, including a nest with eggs, a second chickadee, and dates from excavation to fledging (if they make it that far). By putting everything on one side at the start, I’ve left a lot of room for what comes next. But I’ve also carried a touch of spring green across the page to create a connection right from the start. I look forward to sharing this with you as it progresses.

21 Comments on “New Life for an Old Post

  1. Oh my! My favorite little bird! I just love it when you feature them in your journal. Just can’t get enough! And you have a way of catching their expression. I will definitely use your suggestions in my new journal.

    • Thanks Erica. At least the post stood still while I was sketching it. The chickadee came and went, but I was able to pencil in the pose and then fill in details when it perched long enough. It was too quick moving into the hole to get a sketch of that. I hope I can do the nest with eggs next.

  2. How exciting!! Love everything about this, including your suggestion of blue sky through the leaves and the greater depth/detail near the plane of the bird. I learn so much from you, and look forward to all the developments to come. How nice that what felt like a looming project has instead been sanctified by nature! Good luck, little chickadees!

    • Thanks Cathy- I’m glad to defer the fence project, too; we have much higher priority things to address (like carpenter ants in one of our window sills). I am pleased with the way this sketch turned out and I can’t wait to do more as things progress.

  3. So beautiful and intriguing to see what comes next. So look forward to your posts. Thank you.

  4. How exciting this is Jean! You will have a front row view! My phoebes returned and I excitedly await their progress.

    • Enjoy the phoebes. I’m working on figuring out where the birds in our yard are nesting. They seem to hang around the nests in the morning, then do other stuff in the afternoon. Working from home has its benefits.

  5. I love the story, and the drawing is fantastic. Love the idea of the continuing of both. Beautiful!

  6. love the work, layout lesson and story – can’t wait for more

    Thank you as always !!

  7. I think you definitely need to leave that fence alone! All of us are looking forward to more info as the season progresses.

    • You are right. I even inspected the rest of it to see if I missed any other interesting sites. Alas, just wood that is barely holding together. It’s a keeper!

  8. Lovely work as usual. Are the outlines of the leaves, etc. in pencil or ink or other? Thanks!

    • Hi Chris- I painted a loose wash of the background colors and then lightly penciled the branch/leaves. Then I painted around them with just a very pale wash to define them.

  9. Oh, what a treat! This is why downed trees are always left in place in the forests….and then you get to hear that sweet, two-note spring call of theirs, too. 🙂

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