Recently I made my second excursion to the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary in Augusta, Michigan. The 180-acre sanctuary is home to several previously injured raptor species who have been rehabilitated, as well as a stopping point for numerous migratory waterfowl. During the several hours I spent there I was one of the few visitors, making for a much-needed day of quiet.........just the birds, my camera, and myself.
This peacock was clearly part of the welcoming committee, and followed me around the parking lot for some time. He seemed quite enamored with my camera lens, and for several minutes I thought sure he was going to start pecking at it. Eventually though, he tired of me -- possibly realizing there was no food to be had from this particular human!
Of the waterfowl species there, my favorite to photograph are the juvenile trumpeter swans. I find their rose-colored bills and the subtle grays of their feathers to be quite lovely, and they seem more oblivious to the presence of humans than the adults. When I have taken the time to simply quietly observe, I have found that swans in general strike some amazing -- and sometimes tremendously twisted -- poses.
Albiet slow -- after all, this rendering is competing with my mental and emotional navigation (smile) of my now "empty nest" -- the current work-in-progress is beginning to take shape. This photo of it shows the placement of all the horses as well as some of the landforms. The image still appears very flat, as this only depicts some of the base coat: soon I will begin to lay in the upper layers and building more depth and dimension into the piece.
As I have continued to work on this piece, I've begun to feel somewhat more comfortable with the lack of close detail as well as the image's ambiguity that I..........okay..........whined about during my previous post. In retrospect, I was attempting to intellectualize the process rather than just following my gut instincts. So I am pushing through my mental obstacles with this piece, and in so doing am learning a tremendous amount about myself. For example, in working through this drawing I frequently find that I'm struggling to trust my ability to make the artistic decisions needed to execute it. While I've been very aware of a periodic lack of confidence while addressing challenges during previous drawings, this nagging sensation has been nearly relentless since beginning this piece. Seeing no other way around it except to go through it, I will, of course, press on -- realizing that I have much to learn from the struggle itself.