Monday, 21 November 2011

Week 46

Week 46 is a drawing of a dead bird.  We think it is a Carrion Crow. 
I was wondering what I might find to draw as we closed the gate and stepped onto the shore.  The light was poor as the blanket of grey clouds shielded the daylight.  The days are getter darker and often we need to switch on a lamp in the afternoon.  The tide was low and not due until later so we wandered along the banking with just a thin winding river.  I could trace the height of the tide by the patterns in the sand.  It seemed that there were only small fragments of seaweed and a few tiny shells stuck in the sand.
I could see a dark object in the grass, as I walked towards it I saw feathers scattered all around and knew what I would find.  It was a  dark bird, on its back with its eyes pecked out and revealing patches of pink flesh on the head.  The feet were contorted and made a dramatic shape with the sharp claws.  It was very much dead, perhaps shot or savaged by another animal.  I am quite used to seeing dead birds, drowned sheep and other signs of death, skulls and bones seawashed and the many crabs in the estuary.

We walked on and reached the boulders. The vast expanse of sand looked slippery and sloppy with deep footprints to prove it.  The boulders at sealevel are now very green and slimey,  leaves were stuck to the surface and trapped between the cracks and crevices.  I collected some black leaves, a few tiny shells and small pieces of seaweeds.  I  looked out to sea and realised how low the grey clouds felt.
I found some black feathers, my mind returned to the dead bird.  I felt that was my page but knew I couldn't take it home, so we returned and photographed it and I studied it long and hard before we walked on.
We wandered along my usual route.  The place reflects the time of year, dead dried plants, a silence and a greyness. The birds are few and far between,  not much life here any more.  The sea like a garden seems to have its seasons, and at this time of the year there is little to show for the tides.  The trains thunder past with lights on, each sends out a blast of air.  I felt a shiver with a slight chill to the air.  There is much activity as the workers sand blast the old metal bridge.  I nervously crossed the very high temporary bridge but stop to see the views from the top.  My head is trying to work out how I can best draw the bird.


It was a fascinating subject as I worked from the photographs,  my observations,  memory and knowledge of feathers.  I used the fine black ink pens, Uni pin by Mitsubishi, point 1, 2 and 3, which are water and fade proof pigment ink.  I am not advertising,  just  answering the questions I usually get about what materials I use.   I really enjoy working with ink pens, I love to draw and had forgotten how much I love working with pens and how lovely they are for recording the fine details.    Hope you like the bird.  I recorded two of the black feathers I found  on the second page.
I really like how it turned out.   Hope you do too.  Now just six weeks to go in my year recording my weekly shore finds.  I will need to be thinking of a new project.
As always thank you for the kind people who leave a comment, I always enjoy reading them.    Millyx

All photographs by my husband.   If you wish to use  my drawings,  please ask and  please respect my ownership and be kind enough to link back to my blog.    Thank you.

13 comments:

Carol Creech said...

Beautiful! I so love pen and ink. The details here are just GORGEOUS!!! I love the feet and the feathers. Fantastic work.
Carol

woodland wanderer said...

you painted the bird beautifully Eileen! I am not used at all to see dead mouses or other animals. one day i had to take dead hedgehog from the water bucket and i was shocked!

i hope everything is well with you both.

love, Delila

Frances said...

Milly, your week 46 has brought us a surprise! You draw so beautifully with those ink pens, it's possible to feel the pleasure of making each of those entwined lines.

Your husband's photos are very good, indicating all sorts of differing textures in the bird's surface.

I would say that your drawing and his photographs give a rather moving tribute to nature.

(Over here, I am finally in the midst of my Christmas card painting, catching enjoyable minutes whenever I can.) xo

Best wishes.

gill said...

This is fabulous! I love the detail - my children like to collect skulls when we are out!

Lynn said...

I adore black ink drawings. This is beautiful. Such wonderful, dizzying patterns in the third from last picture.

Pondside said...

The bird was quite a surprise - beautifully done and a look at another side of nature.

Sarah Morrish said...

The detail of the feathers is lovely. I found a dead Goldfinch the other week and it was great to have the experience of looking at it really closely and getting a real sense of scale. You have given me inspiration to use pen and ink in my next project with the Wildlife Trust, so thank you !

Swan Artworks said...

Great pen work... nice to see that close up of your drawing with all the ink lines, very good work. I like using pen and ink too, but haven't used it for quite a while...
Do you know Julia Manning's work? she is a collector of things too, and her studio has cabinets full of things like mummified birds, various skulls of differant animals, birds nests, wings... www.juliamanning.co.uk
I have her Sparrow-hawk etching 'I spy' and an artists proof of her 'Rebel of Ravens'woodcut, great stuff!
Six weeks to go! Hmmmm, I wonder what your 2012 project will be???

Susan Scheid said...

Incredible detail on this, well, incredible, period!

Joanne said...

Beautiful work! The feather detail is amazing :)

Michelle Palmer said...

Milly~ Just AMAZING! We had a dead crow a few weeks back. Our turtle nest "hatched" and with the oodles of baby turtles blanketing the back yard we're pretty sure our crow went in for the swoop and broke its neck. YOU make art from your find... I found the pitch fork and tossed it out of sight! LOVE your journal... each and every week~ thank you for so generously sharing these fantastic peeks into your heart!

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Such an intriguing study. Pen and ink brings a unique dimension to a piece which graphite doesn't. It works superbly with the dead bird and the detail you have captured is exquisite.

Bella said...

One of my favourite birds; you have drawn it without making it macabre. It makes me want to whip out my pens.