Hi folks! February was a very busy month working on a couple of creative commissioned projects for the “United for Old-Growth” rally in Victoria. The first project:
🐻 Bear & Owl 🦉 Masks 🎭
I designed a couple of animal masks, created templates for them, and lead two 3-hour workshops to make a total of 42 masks with a group of local volunteers. I usually volunteer with this group doing ecological restoration work in Metchosin, so it was fun to get our hands dirty in the crafting realm together. Here's a pic of the first two masks I made:
Grizzly Bear & Northern Spotted Owl mask designs
See pictures of the templates, process, and a goofy group photo on the original Patreon post!
And the second project:
Banner for the 🌲 United for Old-Growth Rally ✊
Seán and I were commissioned to design, paint and construct an 8 x 3 foot banner to show Metchosin's support in the United for Old-Growth rally (now apparently known as 'the rally where Neil Young made a surprise appearance and played a couple of songs, and also hugged David Suzuki”).
The banner was to be black & white, preferably in a lino-cut-esque style. The main challenge was designing something striking that included the desired elements-–a cedar tree, creek, animals that depend on old-growth, and mushrooms for good measure––into the odd dimension-constraints of “long & narrow” without it getting too busy and making sure it still looks good and readable from a distance. A definite challenge! Here's the result (before we put the side-poles in):
Spot all of the elements: Tree / Creek / Salmon / Spotted owl / Salamander / Marbled Murrelet / Mushrooms / Bear tracks & Caribou tracks.
Apparently the banner and the masks were a hit at the rally!
Read about the process, see sketches and watch a time-lapse video of the painting on the original Patreon post!
⚘ 2023 ⚘
Inky Sketchbook Tour ~ Part II!
Hiya! I've got a few creative projects in the works, but as they're not ready to share just yet I thought to revisit my recently completed little green sketchbook that I gave you a half-way tour of back in August, and show you the rest!
Here are a couple of snapshots from the video-tour of the 38 micron pen sketches I did from Aug 29th – Jan 24th:
More stuff next month!
See the full sketchbook tour video on the original Patreon post!
⚘ 2022 ⚘
Hi folks! Hope you enjoyed partaking in all of the “humbuggery” that the holidays had to offer, and happy new year! May your nectar stash be full to the brim and may it be shared with many a hungry hummer.
Here sits Hummerneezer atop his riches of nectar, not allowing a single sip to be shared— even on Xmas:
We wonder if he’ll be able to tolerate the company of Santa Caws and Kris Krin-Gull…
This print is the 3rd in a series of punny holiday bird cards that Seán and I collaborated on. This time we designed the image on the tablet, transferred it over to a mini Gocco printer (similar to silkscreen), made a batch of hand-pressed prints and coloured them in with pencils.
Here are the credits:
Idea seed: Seán's brother André came up with the idea while visiting last year, and we couldn't believe we hadn't thought of it!
Concept & design: Seán did a thumbnail concept sketch, thought up his name, and had lots of useful design ideas and advice along the way.
Illustration: I drew it on our digital Wacom tablet, with many different tries at Hummerneezer— it was so tricky to capture his Scrooginess!
Model & inspiration: Our resident grumpy male Anna’s hummingbird—now known as Hummerneezer—is the feistiest, Scroogiest nectar-guzzling hummer around.
See more photos (including a needle-felted hummerneezer!) and read more about the process on the original Patreon post!
I've been chipping away at this self-portrait for the past month on the tablet. I wanted to create an image that encapsulated a bunch of things I enjoy doing, and things I care about. It was a fun challenge!
I put the portrait up on the About page on my website, with a list of 16 “ways in which I like to spend my time”. I tried to squeeze most of the elements into the portrait— check it out and see if you can locate all of the different things! (I'll say that Leggy can count for both strolling and dancing... haha).
See all the process sketches and read more about the personal project on the original Patreon post!
🧦 Old Socks = New Hat ✨
The other morning I spontaneously decided to turn a few holey old socks into a hat:
I had a very vague idea of how things might fit together. I used 3 differently-coloured socks, cut a slit from back-ankle to bottom-toe so they each made a single piece of fabric to work with, and sewed the sides together into a hat shape with a sewing machine.
The neat thing about this hat is that you can change the look of it just by rotating it a bit—one hat, six different styles!
Read more about the process and see my awkward selfie hat-model shots at the original Patreon post!
🔥 Pyrography Experiments: Hum Hill & Junco Grove 🌲 🐦
This past month I've been experimenting a bit with woodburning—AKA pyrography—and it's been an interesting learning curve so far. Basically, it's drawing on wood with a heat-pen. I was drawn to it because I was looking for more environmentally friendly ways to make signage.
The ironic thing is that I had to wait to start until the smoke from the wildfires cleared before I could open the windows & doors for air circulation while burning...
The first woodburned sign I made is a SENĆOŦEN translation of Hummingbird Hill, the name Seán's grandfather gave his property (where we now live). He had help translating it to SENĆOŦEN in the early 80s; Seán found the translation and pronunciation guides in his grandfather's notes.
As for the second sign, Seán & I have been playing around with naming the different habitat areas around the property, depending on what action we see most in each spot. One is an area where dark-eyed juncos often hang out to fluff & preen after a bath, or peck around for seeds, or hide & rest. We've been calling this area “Junco Grove” for a while, and so that's how the idea of this sign got started.
Read more about—and see pictures of—my process, things that went awry and lessons learned on the original Patreon post!
Inky Sketchbook Tour
Hello! Here we are at the end of August. I'm looking forward to the next seasonal transition 🍁🧦🧣🍂!
I've been doing daily(-ish) doodles this month, fuelled by a little square sketchbook and a fine-tipped Pigma Micron ink pen, both of which were gifted to me by my mum at the end of July. It's been a fun exercise to use only one type of ink pen for a series of drawings. 📒🖋
Here's a 2-minute video-tour of the sketches thus far!
Some are based on photos or memories of things I experienced during the month; others are objects, plants or creatures within easy reach; some are travel-journal sketches from a kite festival; and others are straight outta my weird brain— you'll know the ones! ;P
Read more and see photos of my handmade bird kite on the original Patreon post!
Leggy's Ocean Adventure
Hi folks, hope you're stayin' cool~ perhaps this little doodle piece will bring you some refreshing feelings!
Just a little drawing inspired by our friend & expert model, Leggy the Fishbird :)
Read more and see photos of the process on the original Patreon post!.
About Birds – Song in the Works
I hope June has treated you well, and if not, I wish you healing & nourishment to help get you to a more peaceful place.
For me, it's been a busy month of gardening, art projects (commissions & personal) and getting my chops back up to snuff on the ol' squeezebox...
Photo by Barb Sawatsky (That's another performer's guitar)
I made an appearance on an outdoor stage a couple of weeks ago, performing for an attentive audience for the first time in about 3 years. It was a casual gig—a community fundraiser show for Ukraine—an easy 5-song set to ease me gently back into performance-land. It was also only the 2nd time I've performed with the new accordion plugged in, so that was good practice too.
I'm slowly feeling out the performing thing again, and doing a lot of thinking on how I want to present myself as I've changed a lot in the last several years and want to find a balance of putting on a good show while staying true to my more introverted nature and upholding newfound boundaries to keep things manageable and healthy.
Three cowbirds on a nice lichen-rich snag
Here's a song I wrote last fall... another one about birds, go figure! I've been tweaking it and doing recordings of different versions recently, but after listening back to a phone-recording I did of it back in January, I think it captures things alright, so that's the demo I'm presenting to you today. I changed a couple of the melodies but it's pretty similar to this still.
Hear the song, read the lyrics & learn more about it on the original Patreon post!
8 Backyard Bird Poems = Song (Practice Recording)👂♪🐛🐦
I've got a bit of an ear-worm here for you this time— you've been warned! Hopefully a robin will notice the worm and pull it out of your ear before it's too late...👂 ♪ 🐛 🐦
This whole thing started as a little improvised poem I spoke out loud while watching a dark-eyed junco sitting in the bath all fluffed up:
♪ Junco soaking in the bath/what a sight to make us laugh/feathers fluffed into a sphere/how we love to see you here!
Later I was playing freight train by Elizabeth Cotten on the guitar, and realized the poem fit perfectly with the melody of the song. So I wrote up a bunch more bird verses with the tune in mind.
However, while I was editing the verses later on, I happened to be listening to animal songs by the wonderful Canadian folksinger Alan Mills, and when his song The Bird's Ball started playing, I realized the poems also fit the melody of this song... plus this one had a joyful “tra-la-lalala” bit in it that got me thinking about some extra bird-call-inspired lyrics... so...
Hear the recording and read more on the original Patreon post!