Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sad and wonderful all at once

Yesterday my husband came home from his morning walk and said he had a surprise for me. Some guys will give you flowers, or chocolate, but mine brought me a recently deceased Junco hyemalis of the Oregon species, female, I believe, because her hood was dull brown rather than the natty jet black of the males.

Last spring I found a recently deceased Cedar Waxwing and brought it home to draw but got squeamish when it came time to do the deed. It seemed creepy to be staring at that poor, dead bird and I gave up. This summer and fall I've been drawing more wildlife out in the field, mostly through binoculars, and have come to appreciate the gift of an animal or bird that will hold still while you draw it up close. This time I was rock-steady and able to appreciate the chance to closely examine a beautiful creature.

I found her feet really fascinating and tried to do a more detailed sketch of one. Each toe has little pads on the underside. Our fingers have padding built in but these are little extensions to the otherwise twig-like toes. And I was amazed at the length of those claws. Interestingly, underneath the white and tan feathers on her breast are jet-black feathers. You can see then poking through in the center of her breast.

I hope to get a chance to do a color study tomorrow.


  1. Hi Debbie, Cathy Gatland sent me over to see your blog. I have enjoyed your sketches and information during my coffee break this morning and am looking forward to reading and seeing your earlier posts. Thanks for my morning.

  2. Hi Pat, it's nice of you to stop by and it was nice of Cathy to send you along. I'm happy to hear that my sketches and ramblings gave you good coffee break reading material!