Lucifer guards the pond at Starker Arts Park in Corvallis. I see this fabulous specimen of an African Goose almost daily as I walk during my morning break, some days floating with all sails unfurled like this, other days attacking humans who have the audacity to wave their arms and talk loudly (mostly women) as they walk around the pond. Lucifer cuts a wide swath among the resident mallards and widgeons that spend the winters in the pond and nearby wetlands. He showed up a couple of years ago, and has been in charge ever since.
My Google research told me that he/she is an African goose, a breed which isn’t from Africa at all but rather from China, so go figure… The huge bulbous beak and under-the-throat “dew flap” are comical, (unless he is chasing you,) and seem to have no apparent reason for being. The mystery is whether Lucifer is a he or a Lucy. The best Google had to offer about how to tell gender was essentially to catch the goose, turn it upside down, and take a peek inside… I think Lucy/Lucifer would take exception to this investigative technique, and I’ll bet he/she weighs in at over 25 pounds. So that will remain a mystery, and for now I am content to watch as Lucifer maintains order in the park and honks commands to the three white Indian Runner ducks for which he seems to feel responsible.
I think it is one of the wonders of our time that you can order chicks from Back East, and they arrive in the mail alive and cheeping! And adorable. My favorites were the ones who looked like chipmunks, stripes starting at their eyeline and going all the way down their fuzzy backs.
Lesson from this sketch: just like baby people, baby chickens do not come with necks. I didn’t get the head close enough to the body… next time!
Colored Pencil, Digitally Manipulated - 8 x 10 print $20
Betty is one of my friend Tracy’s hens who was named Ugly Betty when she was a pullet… Tracy’s husband felt that was mean, so she became just Betty. However, this is not Betty. After our photo session, the only name I could remember was Betty (note to self, write down names of subjects). So, meet Not Betty. Not Betty is actually quite pretty, as chickens go.
The longer you look at a chicken, the more you suspect that God forgot to throw the mold away after he finished making reptiles and managed to put feathers in it by mistake instead of scales, but only realized this after he took it out of the Cosmic Oven. If I had drawn Not Betty’s feet, you’d see what I mean.
What I like about this piece is the three primary colors that happened just because of the coat Tracy was wearing. And the look in Not Betty’s eye that makes you think that chickens don’t really like to be held… or compared to lizards.
The original photo for this sketch popped up in one of those Facebook “here’s a random photo from someone else’s album” spots the other day. I think Aaron or Ali took it when Corey was visiting Ireland a couple of years ago – photo credit goes to them! It’s an amazing composition, I didn’t really do it justice, but this is a “Daily” after all, and the point of Dailies is to simply get ‘er done!
The wool of a llama, I have discovered, is actually a little more difficult to portray than bird feathers or otter whiskers! But Photoshop can do some good things to eliminate the fussy details and get right to the critical shapes and shadows, which is a good way to teach myself what to look for.
My friend Hilaire is a volunteer diver at the aquarium in Newport. She introduced me via photo to this little guy, who arrived recently after being rescued in Alaska – I love his curious little smile, and we can all use one today.
Will I forever be defined by my old fluffy bathrobe in the memories of my grandchildren? The skype calls from their time zones inevitably catch us at the Sunday breakfast table, puffy-eyed, sticky-outie-haired, and in my case, wrapped in my 1980’s faux-Navajo-blanket fleece robe. I won’t even describe the jammies… when the transmission gets pixelly, I think it’s probably a good thing!
Or will they remember the impromptu puppet shows where oven mitts sneak up behind the unsuspecting Griffy-Pop and begin to “chew” on his ears? Or the parade of unwilling kitties having thier paws waved at the computer until they squirm out of our grasp? Or the ‘tea parties’ where we slurp imaginary tea, served up generously into virtual teacups, by Crazy Granny Kerry in the dusty old garden hat she dredged up from the hook on the back door?
Skype is way, way better than plain old phone calls, of course, – in fact, it’s Real Magic. But a Real Hug wouldn’t go amiss…
Color me blue and orange! I learned in my research that the eastern blue bird used to be called “Robin Redbreast”, and it’s the state bird of New York state. We don’t see many bluebirds here in Corvallis unless we go out to Bald Hill and hike around the pastures. The fence lines along the paths there have many bluebird nest boxes, and if we’re lucky in the spring and on hot summer days we see them swooping through the fields. I suspect that if I was a bluebird, I’d prefer a nice hole in a tree trunk like this one. Those nest boxes look hot in the sunshine!
I promised some very good children I know that I would post some coloring pages for them, so here is the first one. These birds are Prothonotary Warblers according to the Bird magazine where they were featured in a photograph, but to me they are just Pretty Yellow Birds with gray wings and gray beaks. So to those good children, ask your parents to print a page for you, get out your yellow and gray crayons or pencils (and maybe some blue for the water, and brown for the rocks) and have fun!
This also counts as my daily sketch for today. As an artist, I tend to get excited and start doing tiny details before I’ve gotten the shape to be the way I want it, so making a coloring page is a good way to remind myself to take it a step at a time!