Sunday, March 2, 2014

It's for the Birds...

This past month I had a short exchange with artist Anthony Greentree, on Twitter, who holds a monthly art challenge. February was "#linefebruary"... where you can draw anything in any medium, but can only use line. I commented that I thought this was a great idea, and next thing you know I'm on the list. I hadn't intended to participate, but whatever, I'll go with it. Now I haven't done line drawings in many years. Many, MANY years. I pulled out a sketchbook that I had bought and never used, sharpened up my pencil, and... ok, well, let's not shade that quite so much. I'll try ink.... ick. Was I ever out of practice. Page after page... awful. The last time I seriously drew in ink was when I spent the summer in Europe, in the late 80s (yes, I am that old). So I kept going, and about 20 sketches in I started to get the feel of it. All of my drawings were of the same subject... birds. 

Pen and ink sketch. I noticed when I posted this image that I've got the
year as '15. Getting a little ahead of myself, I'd say. 
I have a thing for birds. It's not new... even looking back over my sketchbooks from school I have doodles and drawings of birds sprinkled all through them. I think part of the appeal for me is that they are used as symbols throughout history, from Ancient Egypt to Native American mythology. They are mystical, and magical... and majestic. 

I don't really sketch (or at least I didn't until this month). I did it because it was something every teacher told me I should do, but I didn't really enjoy it all that much, so I stopped when my life got busy and it got too inconvenient to carry around a sketchbook that I rarely used (I had a baby and suddenly I had too many things to carry... the book just wasn't going in the bag). What I did do was get kids books from Goodwill recycle them. I prefer the board kind because they take a lot of abuse. I sand off the varnish, gesso them and repaint the pages. I have a pile of these little books, most of them thematic in some way. And yes, I have one devoted to birds. They're not that big... most of them only have about 10 pages, so I will do one spread when the mood strikes me and put it away until the mood strikes again... sometimes months later. Since my brain was focused on birds, I pulled out my books and did a couple new pages.

This was fun. Maybe I'll try to get back into the habit. And maybe I'll enjoy it this time.