National Pet Day

National Pet Day

National Pet Day

Joining Charlie’s invitation to celebrate a National or International Day with a doodlewash and because it is hard to resist the idea of celebrating National Pet Day, (April 11th), here is a morning doodle. Peace and happiness to all companions great and small and the people who love and care for them.

Friends through the seasons

Faithful in good times and bad

Sharing lives and hearts

Draw a bird day: Kōlea

Kolea

Kōlea

Navigators fly

Return to cold distant shores

Voices on the wind

Last night I heard the passing warble of a Pacific Golden Plover, (Pluvialis fulva), or, as we call them, Kōlea.  The name is an onomatopoeia that copies the plover’s flight call.

A timely reminder that April 8th is Draw a Bird Day, a monthly event in our blogging community formerly hosted by Laura at Create Art Everyday, and now cared for by Nina and Kerfe at Method Two Madness.

The Kōlea, navigator, messenger from the gods, guardian spirit, a god incarnate, and a familiar island guest, have wintered here long before man stepped foot on these sandy shores. Many believe the birds helped to guide early Polynesian explorers here and elsewhere in the pacific so it is not surprising they are part of our earliest oral history and even down to today they remain part of our belief system.

These amazing and mighty long-distance flyers, not only find their way back to tiny little specks of lava rock in the middle of the ocean, but they also find the same specific wintering grounds in the islands each year, … such as someone’s backyard.  There is a record of a banded Kōlea returning to the same site for over 20 years. No wonder many island residents become attached to seeing their guests arrive year after year.

Most Kōlea have fattened up and their plumage has changed from the golden sandy colors they arrived with in the fall, to more striking breeding plumage complete with a white racer stripe.  By next week a few will start to leave, and near the end of the month, large groups will depart on their arduous non-stop journey to as far north as the Arctic tundra.

Though a very few will remain over the summer, by the end of April the absence of Kōlea will be noticeable and people will start marking calendars waiting for their return in the fall.  There is still so much to learn from these travelers, they are a link not only to past traditions, but possibly our future as environmental conditions change.  As we say in the islands, Aloha a hui hou! (Farewell until we meet again)

 

(Sketch in Stillman & Birn Zeta series using Quinacridone Gold, Transparent Brown Oxide (Daniel Smith) and Ultramarine Blue (M. Graham) watercolor.)

Flowers and Birdsong

Flowers and Birdsong

Just another pen and ink sketchbook doodle (in between projects), while thinking about friends, International Women’s Day and the monthly draw a bird day started by Laura at Create art everyday, and of course done while listening to birdsong.

Smiles of true friends lift

Hearts like flowers and birdsong

Clouds tickle the toes

Like A Phoenix

Like A Phoenix

It is a time of transition, in-between creative projects, a time to put aside paint brushes and reach for the pencil and pens. What better place to relax and ponder over new directions than doodling in the sketchbook. I suppose the arrival of a New Moon and Chinese New Year were on my mind, it seemed to be the direction for my drawings and scribbles.  Here in the islands local celebrations include brightly colored decorations, lions dancing in Chinatown streets, and sharing plenty of good food with family and friends. The festivities herald seasonal change while allowing moments of reflection and offering hopes for another new year.

It is a time of transition, … a good time to pause, take a breath, and recharge the batteries before continuing creative journeys, under a shining moon, like a phoenix reborn and filled with possibilities.

Lunar promises

Bloom like a phoenix reborn

Red fire monkey laughs

Song of Joy

A cardinal sings

I remember being introduced to the Red Cardinal as a child while visiting my grandmother on her farm in the eastern United States. She loved birds and made sure to have food for them spread on the ground and attached to the ancient pear trees that stood outside of the parlor windows. It was a perfect viewing spot especially during the winter months and the flash of scarlet against the white background was stunning. “Isn’t he a handsome fellow!” my grandmother would exclaim at the sight of a male cardinal visiting her offerings of seed and suet. “Isn’t she a pretty thing, “ my grandmother would say in a softer voice at the sight of a female cardinal joining the feathered party.

Regardless of the season, when a cardinal’s familiar song and trill could be heard, my grandmother would pause in whatever she was doing and listen intently, as if the song were for her. Sometimes she would whistle in return, a conversation only the two of them could understand.

Both my grandmother and mother would often comment while listening to a cardinal’s serenade, on how happy their song was and how wondrous that a scarlet fluff of feathers could be so filled with a contagious joy that one could not help but feel lifted in spirit from just hearing its voice.

The Red Cardinal was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands in 1929 and became well established here. To this day when I hear the familiar piping, trills and song, I take a moment from my activities and enjoy the melody. It is like hearing a familiar voice, of a dear friend, who brings with them fond memories of childhood days and can lift the soul with song.

Lehua Rain

Playing with watercolors in a new sketchbook (Stillman & Birn Zeta series), working through ideas for a new painting…and, well… one thing led to another.

Lehua Rain

In a world of gray

Thoughts of love grow like ‘ōhi’a

‘I’iwi sing in lehua rain

A native tree in the Hawaiian islands, the ʻōhiʻa lehua is the first plant to grow on new areas of lava flow. The ‘I’iwi is a scarlet Hawaiian honeycreeper, a native bird with a unique bill shaped for drinking nectar.  The term “lehua rain” refers to the legend of the ‘ōhi’a tree where plucking a flower causes the heavens to weep at the separation of two lovers, ‘Ōhi’a and Lehua.

Draw a Bird Day: Corvus Hawaiiensis

Celebrating Laura’s (Create Art Everyday) Draw a Bird Day, (every 8th day of the month), with a poem and watercolor sketch of the Hawaiian Crow, (‘Alala or Corvus Hawaiiensis).  Working in a sketchbook not really meant for the use of water, the items used were pencil, Ultramarine blue (M. Graham) and Quinacridone burnt scarlet (Daniel Smith) watercolor.

Hawaiian Crow

Before the last pair disappeared from the wilds, conservationists began a captive breeding program with the goal to prevent extinction and eventually reintroduce birds back into their former habitats.  The story is far from over, the program continues and there is growing hope that one day the distinctive call of the Hawaiian crow will again be heard in the forest wilds.

Inspiration Freshly Picked

Morning arrived gray, low clouds hung so heavy with moisture it felt like sitting in a bamboo steamer, minus the tasty dumplings. Thank goodness our trade winds linger, a little shy at times, but always welcomed with grateful sighs of relief.

Last night the rain, envoys from a storm to our south, paid us a visit. Our white plumeria tree must have played host, so many of its blossoms now carpet the ground at its base like abandoned party favors from the late night revelers.

Our summer seems to be winding down in its own subtle way, so it was a pleasant surprise to find a bag of these late bloomers, a gift from a friend’s yard, hanging on my kitchen door.

Freshly picked

Mangoes are the sweetness of summer sunshine wrapped in rainbow hues of blended colors. I carefully pull each rounded fruit from the bag, taking in their scent and turning them gently round and round in my hands, admiring the way the colors dance and blend. The sight of a ripening mango always sings to me of watercolors and it is a challenge not to drop everything, load up the brush, and start painting immediately. I want to memorize the way the colors mingle so subtly from cool greens to vibrant yellow. But these beauties are ripe and smell good enough to eat on the spot.

Playing around with set upThe solution is a few quick set ups taking photos for reference …

A loose sketcha couple of loose sketches, and then back to the kitchen.

As I peel and slice my way through memories of summers past, I cannot help but stare for a moment at my hands, now covered with mango juice…what is that color? Gamboge? Maybe a mix of Orange Lake and Hansa Yellow or even Aureolin? I sift through the discarded peels … Is that a hint of Quinacridone Gold next to Rose Lake? And what a lovely purple, maybe a mix of Ultramarine Blue and Permanent Magenta or even Alizarin Crimson? Alright, this is becoming distracting, time to paint.

Exploring

Exploring

My creative journeys are not always planned and unless there is some sort of deadline involved there is always room to indulge in my penchant for meandering. Case in point, I had been continuing my explorations of waterfalls and simple still-lifes with collage, but now with the arrival of freshly picked inspiration I am excited to wander off the paper trail, maybe explore different styles while playing in pools of color. I will probably linger here for a bit and enjoy the remains of summer, at least until I feel the urge to meander once again.

Remembering summer

Remembering summer