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!
I hope you've been enjoying whatever seasonal changes are happening in your neighbourhood. Over here, the bumblebees are out enjoying early spring blooms, violet-green swallows are swooping above catching insects, and the feisty, tiny orange rufous hummingbirds have arrived to refuel after their long migration.
🌸 – – – 🐝
I've been busy with more sign-making! I'm currently updating and designing more menu boards for my friend's bakery; but since I already shared some bakery signs, I'll instead show you five other recent signs: three that I made for Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary, and two for some friends to use at a climate action demonstration.
See all of the signs and read about my process on the original Patreon post!
It's time to March our way towards spring! Hope you're enjoying the various sproutlings that are poking up 🌱 , or if you're still covered in snow, keeping an ear tuned to any birdsong that tells of warmer days to come 🎶 🌤.
So, I have an ever-accumulating pile of sketches. Most of them are made at the dining table while having planning meetings, listening to webinars/podcasts, or while having lengthy conversations with my partner about life, death, dreams, art, plants, birds, animism, the multiverse, magic, or any other things that happen to be of interest in the moment.
These are all drawn with one of my very favourite utensils: the lusciously smooth china marker, AKA grease pencil or wax pencil.
Read my musings about the therapeutic nature of doodling with grease pencils & see awhole bunch more of my doodleson the original Patreon post!
Indeed, a song! After a long hiatus from sharing original songs, I've finally got some demo-recordings in the works that I thought to share with you.
This song started as a little poem that came to me while walking at a nearby lagoon last September. I was feeling grumpy and existential that day, and as I walked with the negative thoughts stubbornly swirling in my head, I was suddenly jolted awake by a bird that swooped in front of me while letting out a big “squeak!”. It stopped me in my tracks; I felt a big smile spread across my face, and heard myself let out a laugh. Pure joy— pure sudden awareness of the wonders of nature and the bigger picture. The best medicine.
Read about my writing process, lyrics and more on the original Patreon post!
Last year, I was dreaming about including a flip-side to the schedule that would provide a recipe, helpful tips and interesting facts. Whelp, with a timely nudge from the Rocky Point Bird Observatory (who asked to share an updated version through their channels), I finally achieved this!
Download the new schedule here & read about my process in the original Patreon post.
Well, well, what do we have here? It looks like Santa Caws had some stiff competition this year!
Seán came up with this perfectly g(ul)lorious concept while I was obsessively pondering gull-puns aloud one day, and I just had to draw it. You can see my one and only sketch in the 2nd image (seepost), and you'll notice that the final digital version isn't much different from it! I liked the gull's friendly-yet-crazed facial expression in the sketch so I just stuck with it. Then I fattened him up a bit, gave him a questionably necessary belt (fashion over function!), tweaked the fry-sack shape, and added a joyful sprinkling of a few mangled ground-fries.
Read the full story and see the process pictures on myPatreon post!
I've been working away on secret Xmas gifts this month, so in lieu of spoiling surprises I thought to share a couple of sign-painting commissions I completed earlier this month.
From sketch to finished sign
My friend opened a new bakery/cafe and had someone chalk-paint a few signs, only to realize upon their completion that there was way too much information crammed onto the small boards, and that they needed to be simplified. However, the person who did them had gone out of the country for a few months so they weren't there to re-do them.
Enter: me; unawares, just checking out the cafe opening, when my friend took down the signs upon seeing me and asked if I could please simplify and redo them. Ok, I said, I should have a few spare hours this week to do these up...
An unforeseen 14 hours of work later, I returned the newly designed and painted signage.
The challenges & lessons learned:Read about my process and see the other signage in theoriginal poston my Patreon page!
Hi folks! Hope you've been enjoying the Autumn sights and scents ~ 🍂🍁
Thought I'd share a work-in-progress peek at another educational french video that I'll be collaborating on again with my dad. This time, it's about the placement of a frog in relation to a hollow log: sur, sous, dans, devant, dernière, à côté de (on, under, in, in front of, behind, beside).
As may be apparent, I got a bit carried away drawing the various autumnal elements in the foreground, heheh...
Stay tuned for the final result!
In other news, I'm busy writing a batch of new songs, which has been a lot of fun! More on that eventually... 🎼 🐌
Voici une petite vidéo—en français! My dad and I collaborated on this fun educational animation last week, for use in french immersion classrooms. Five magic words/phrases that wee ones ought to know: bonjour, s'il te plait, merci, de rien, et je suis désolé! All taught by an enthusiastic french rabbit who jumps out of a magic hat.
To see all the behind-the-scenes sketches and such, head over to the originalPatreon post!