Nest

I walked out and found the nest in the gravel driveway, not by the step as the poem says, but close enough.
Nest by Marianne Boruch

I walked out, and the nest
was already there by the step. Woven basket
of a saint
sent back to life as a bird
who proceeded to make
a mess of things. Wind
right through it, and any eggs
long vanished. But in my hand it was
intricate pleasure, even the thorny reeds
softened in the weave. And the fading
leaf mold, hardly
itself anymore, merely a trick
of light, if light
can be tricked. Deep in a life
is another life. I walked out, the nest
already by the step.

Poem copyright © 1996 by Marianne Boruch, whose most recent book of poetry is “Poems: New and Selected,” Oberlin College Press, 2004. 

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Field Guide to Remotes

Here’s a quick sketch I should have made years ago. No attempt at beauty or precision, just a down-n-dirty guide so that I can finally watch a movie without assistance.

I wanted to do this page quickly and without fuss, so I used a Uniball gel pen instead of my usual Micron 02 pen. The ink isn’t water soluble, but it sure smudged easily.

I wanted to do this page quickly and without fuss, so I used a Uniball gel pen instead of my usual Micron 02. The ink isn’t water soluble, but it sure smudged easily.

(My apologies for such a mundane post. I’m working on a large, precise drawing this week and needed to counter the care of that piece with something really fast. I’m still a good number of hours from finishing the former, so my regular journaling is taking a backseat.)

Spreading Magic

‘Tis the season to spread a little magic! If you’ve ever read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Father Christmas Letters, you know what a gem they are. Full of beautiful illustrations and humorous stories, the letters Tolkien wrote to his children from Father Christmas spanned 20 years from 1920 to 1942. Those letters inspired me to pick up Santa’s pen when my children were growing up and, years later, to continue the tradition with letters to my neighbor’s children, now ages nine and seven. I often do a little research on the North Pole to put me in the right frame of mind before writing. A photo of colorful fur boots from Lapland caught my eye this year and sparked the story.

Wishing you a wonder-filled holiday and the chance to spread some magic of your own!

click to view larger

click to view larger

See previous letters here.

The Sun is Rising Yet

Today, I don’t know how to assuage grief; stem loss; draw hope. What color do you use when a new day dawns gray and stark and you no longer know your country?

So I walk streets littered with leaves, and wander through the graveyard looking for answers among stones. Here– a veteran, there– a mother, a child. Lives engraved in names and dates. On one of my favorites, these words: Change upon change, the sun is rising yet.

And then I come home to begin again, and start with the simple act of filling the bird feeders.

whitbeck-beech-quote

What lies ahead

I cracked open a new sketchbook this week: blank pages stared back. Who knows what will become of them? Pieces of life, seasons, artistic experiments, birds, experiences, memories. It seems fitting then that my first page records a journey. These are quick sketches made while driving from Connecticut to Maine, pulled together with text about what I was listening to in the car.

IMG_3972I wasn’t really sure where the pages would go when I began. With each stop along the way, I added something more. Built over time, the page, like the book itself, is record of my journey. Here’s to what lies ahead!

Sketchbook and a Pen

There is something really satisfying about going out with the most basic of sketch tools: paper and pen. I love the flow of lines, of ink on the page, of forms taking shape. These magnificent old beech trees were perfect subjects. I found the first one late Sunday afternoon on the banks of a river and the second two days later in a cemetery. It took me about an hour working on site to make each drawing. Back at home, I couldn’t resist adding a touch of color to to the page. What about you? What are your go-to artist tools?

European Beech, Micron 02 pen in Stillman and Birn beta sketchbook.

European Beech (Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme, CT), Micron 02 pen in Stillman and Birn beta sketchbook.

beech-copper_Wallingford_750

European Beech (In Memoriam Cemetery, Wallingford, CT), Micron 02 pen in Stillman and Birn beta sketchbook.

Beautiful Beginning

When I am drawing a bird’s nest, I am always mindful that the birds who built it have given me a beautiful beginning. The woven strips of bark, grass, pine needles, twigs and finer nesting materials lend themselves to lovely lines. I love rebuilding the nest on paper, strand by strand, picking out patterns and adding darks until the bird’s creation takes shape again in ink. I plan to add watercolor to this, but I thought I’d share it now to give you a sense of this beginning stage.

Nest_catbird

Gray Catbird Nest