Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Last Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush at Manayunk Canal. Watercolor sketch by Ken Januski.
No, this isn't The Last Hermit Thrush. Surprisingly though I think it's the last one I've seen in Philadelphia, back in November of 2012. For whatever reason we didn't see any in Philadelphia in 2013, at least not in the spring. Often they're a true harbinger of spring, appearing even in our backyard. But this year we just didn't see any. I believe the first one we saw in 2013 was in Ohio at Magee Marsh.

I've always been fond of this photo, the small bird centered in the middle of these three trees. I've often found that watercolors make good preliminary sketches for linocuts. So yesterday as I was looking through my collection of photos I decided to try a small watercolor sketch on Stillman and Birn Gamma paper (5.5x8.5 inches)

I always get scared off by trees so this made a good exercise in tree rendering, especially as they were all somewhat different. The watercolor in fact is as much about the trees as it is the bird. Nothing wrong with that in my book. This is where birds truly are, not nicely posed in the center of a canvas with nothing surrounding them.

I'm not sure if I'll end up doing a print based on this. But I am happy with it and wanted to show it.

Late August and early September bring the first southbound migrants to our small urban yard. Today it was a Common Yellowthroat, six days later than last year. Hopefully the Hermit Thrushes won't be far behind, though it is a bit early for them.
Three recent linocuts and carving tools.
I've never been completely happy with my photos of the Rusty Blackbird lino. So I decided to take this photo of the two recent White-tailed Deer linos as well as the Rusty Blackbird. I think this photo gives some sense of the richness of the color. Beneath it are most of the tools I used in carving it, the vast majority Japanese carving tools.

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