Wednesday 6 June 2012

Jays, Jays and more Jays!

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of having six enthusiastic artists join me in my studio for a day of coloured pencil drawing. Our subject was this Steller's jay:

Each of them worked diligently throughout the day on their projects, assisted by my input and guidance:

After practicing a few techniques, they started with this outline:

... which gradually transformed into this:

... and eventually resulted in this:

We were visited part-way through the day by the family of Steller's jays that lives in my neighbourhood (you may remember my blog about them a few weeks back entitled Year of the Jay). Happily all five of them are still together - the babies have survived and are flourishing! That day, mom, dad and the three now almost-adult youngsters came squawking and flapping up to the bird feeder right outside my studio window. Unfortunately I didn't have the wherewithall to grab my camera, but it was a delightful moment for all of us to see these lively, colourful birds up close as we worked to capture their likeness on paper.

I'd like to thank all the workshop participants for joining me for a pleasurable day of learning and creating in my studio. I hope each of them went away with some new knowledge and skills, an appreciation for that day's colourful subject, and the inspiration to continue making bird-related art. (I'll be organizing some new workshops in the fall, so anyone interested in participating should keep an eye on my website, or get in touch with me to be placed on my email list for notification.)

I was pleased to see - and hear - the jay family in my yard again this morning, the youngsters still begging for tidbits from mom and dad and squabbling, as siblings often do, over treasures they happened to find themseves. I did manage to quickly snap one photo through my front patio door when one of the youngsters paused on the railing:

It's wonderful to live in a place where these wild creatures can be observed literally right ouside my door. Unlike some wildlife, they're not particularly exotic, or only to be found in remote wilderness, or considered unusual or uniqe by any stretch of the imagination. However, these common birds are captivating creatures who have managed to adapt to life in the suburbs. Their presence certainly enriches my life and they enhanced the experience of the participants in my workshop last weekend. My cat happens to think they're interesting too.

1 comment:

  1. You are most welcome! It was a wonderful experience doing this workshop...this one and the pet portrait workshop inspired me to sign up for a 6 week drawing course which started last night.

    Hopefully when doing another one of your amazing!!! workshops - my own drawing techniques will have improved.

    You are one of the most inspiring/thoughtful/supportive art instructors that I have had and I really appreciate you sharing your talents, your studio, your pets (big hug to Riley) and outside bird visitors with us!