Friday, March 20, 2020

Naturalist Notebook: Nature though the window (Where's Waldo?)

My painting studio is upstairs, at eye level with the leaf canopy of a couple of pecan trees.I always keep a pair of binoculars close by, because it is a great opportunity to see birds at eye-level, too. Yesterday, I saw a male Yellow Bellied Woodpecker working one of the trees. I'm hoping he will come back today. 

This morning, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a Cooper's Hawk gliding down the alley. As he did, startled doves flew out of the trees. Even though he flew by so fast I didn't have time to grab my bins, I knew it was probably a Cooper's because of its size and shape, and because that is one of our "regular" backyard hawks, especially at our feeders (not for the seeds that are there, but for the seed-eaters). 


We can see a lot of nature right from our windows, and we don't even have to be in the "country" to do so. Because the Cooper's flew by so fast and out of the corner of my eye, as well as through a thicket of urban images, I thought I'd try drawing that moment as a "where's Waldo" landscape. As you can see, there are plenty of images to distract from nature, in this particular landscape.


I don't have to draw every single stick and house, though. I can pick and choose--just enough to show how "busy" it looks, but not enough to make a mess. I'm going to show it to you in steps so that you will see it doesn't have to be intimidating. Maybe you will be inspired to try something similar. 
Here is the base drawing. You can see that I have edited out a number of things, including most of the houses on the other side of my alley. I have kept my greenhouse, hoop house, planter hoops, garden chair, the two trees, telephone pole with wires, and made sure I include the edge of the first floor roof to show where I am. I have also sketched in the hawk flying down the alley:





Here I have penciled in the fence pickets:



Here I have added tiny scribbles at the top of the page to represent the doves flying up and away, and inked in the hoops so that they don't disappear when I ink in the individual fence pickets:



Here you can see why it was important to ink the hoops in first. I will confess that I thought about taking a break after inking in all these fence pickets:



And here is the finished landscape:


For inking, I used an inexpensive pen called a “Micron,” which comes with different sized tips. You can find them in almost any art store.





Take a look out your windows. What do you see there? You can try drawing it like this--as a "where's Waldo," or draw some other things that you can see from your indoor perch.

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