Since my computer crashed with my graphics software, I’ve been working my way back slowly. I’ve managed to get an older hard system up and working, got the interwebs patched back into it, slapped on some bubblegum, and here we go! Unfortunately, it’ll be a bit before I can get some of my shots off my camera since, up until yesterday, they were all shot in RAW format. If you don’t know what RAW is don’t worry about it. Short story: my current very old computer doesn’t like it much.
I’ve currently downloaded my old trusty graphic program standby, Gimp. If you don’t know it’s a pretty decent graphic/photo manipulation program and, by the way, it’s free! Give it a look if you need a quick and fast program to help you with your photos.
I made it back out for another afternoon walk yesterday. The weather was gray and cold. Not a lot of activity. The bonus of the lunch hour stroll was getting the chance to take a long look at a Northern Flicker. I’ve seen them a few times and either this one is getting used to me or he’d had way too many fermented sumac berries to care. The other surprise was an Eastern Towhee that was kicking around in an area of scrub and tall grass. When I got to close he took off for the shelter of an evergreen along with a mated pair of cardinals. Once I stopped and stayed in place the towhee calmed and made its way back out so I could get a good look.
This time out I took my journal and my pencil. Once upon a time I had the dream of being a comic book artist. True story! In a more recent time not so long ago I pursued the idea of working with digital painting and illustration. More recently, I’ve been kicking around the idea of applying my art skills (what may be left anyway) to doing some nature and wildlife artwork. To get warmed up, I’ve been sketching what I see.
I thought I’d offer up a bit of what I started yesterday afternoon and then polished up later in the evening. I’ve not been drawing as much in the past few years but I think it’s a decent start.
In this world of digital cameras and their images around every corner, finicky computers that whir, spit, and die without a warning, I sort of like the idea of using pencils, inks, and digital paint to illustrate a few subjects.
I’ve also found that the simple act of a rough sketch in the field helps me in several ways. One, my observation goes up yet another notch since I’m now looking for details in form, shape, lighting, etc. Two, the act of artwork slows me down, calms me even further which is absolutely needed in wilderness viewing. Three, it’s taking far more of my faculties working together to create the sketch and this helps cement the experience firmly in my memory. I won’t be able to look at the small bit of art above without remembering the slate gray sky behind the bird, how he bent and worked at the remains of the sumac cluster and how cold it was that day, how quiet the woods were. By making a picture it triggers more of my brain and therefore helps lock the moment into my memory.