or maybe just a squirrel if the birds were too bad, but even that was tough today, the first day of Project Feeder Watch.
As I've written many times both here and on my main web site I really prefer working from life and not from photos. There is an immediacy that the artist tries to capture when he's drawing what is right in front of him that is lost when working from photos. I work only from my own photos so I have more of a connection than with someone else's photos but still there is something lacking.
However I know that the beginning of Project Feeder Watch will soon show me what a dangerous idea that may be. Live birds, particularly when they're feeding, can make me look like a rank amateur! But as the Motmot says you've got to own a bird, not like owning a pet bird, but in the sense of knowing some birds well enough to draw them blindfolded, or as she says "the essence of the bird is yours to keep."
Project Feeder Watch is one of many Citizen Science projects sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It strives to use ordinary citizens to collect important data about birds. The sheer numbers, especially when done in a controlled way, prove valuable to scientists in studying bird populations, bird behavior, etc. In Project Feeder Watch people count the birds that they see at their backyard feeders from early November until late March or early April. It's both fun to do and scientifically useful.
For me it is SUPPOSED to be the chance to force myself to work from life. Well as much as a brick wall offers me the chance to bang my head into it.... Just kidding. It is an opportunity and I'll take advantage of it, I hope more this year than last year. But as you can see it is a challenge. Those birds just won't sit still. Most birds I've drawn on these two sheets held their pose for less than 2 seconds. I hope the drawings will show an improvement by the end of Project Feeder Watch season. I'll be doing my best to make sure that they do.