Saturday, June 26, 2010

A week here at Lillian Smith Center today...

... although most of it was spent at ECHO School for the Arts at the class taught by Suzanne Stryk.  But I began my day, sadly, with a dead bird on my porch.

As I started the morning pages writing around 7 a.m. I happened to look out the window next to where I was sitting and saw something out of the usual... so I walked outside and saw this poor fellow (if you're upset by death like I am... don't read the following or look at the next several photos).

I guess he/she'd maybe hit the window in the night.  The beak of the bird was between the boards of the porch...  the skinny lines at the left are Daddy Long Legs spider legs...

As I turned the bird over to get it into a container to take it to the woods for disposal I saw these beautiful markings on the breast.

When I got to the workshop later, Suzanne Stryk had a bird identification book... this seems to have been an ovenbird... something I've never heard of but is apparently common to this area.

So, R.I.P. little bird.  Thank you for your sharing your wonder with me.

After putting the little bird to rest in the woods near the Lillian Smith memorial site I started the morning walk with the photo of the red door.  Since I was out earlier than yesterday the light was different.  So far, each day I've been hear the mornings have been clear.  Storms have blown up almost every afternoon, however... this afternoon's caused the problem I'll share below.


 I saw several snails clinging to the side of the rock house wall where I'm staying.  Here's just one.

These are tin flowers at the Director's cottage... I happened to stop to photograph them this morning and then I got closer and saw...

 ... YES, another snail in the center of the yellow one!  These guys are everywhere!!   I just love their spiral pattern of shell.
So far, no one has guessed my "what is it" photos... here's another one to ponder.  

At the Suzanne Stryk workshop... here's Suzanne demonstrating a technique she wanted us to try...

Her work is so incredible... and she taught the workshop in a such a sharing way, encouraging all of us to look closely and think carefully about what we were seeing.

She shared work in her sketchbooks, in addition to her demonstrations...

One of the workshop participants was there under constraint... this little toad, being very patient while he was being drawn.  He was to be released soon afterward.

Peggie brought some beautiful objects to draw and share for others... I used a luna moth from her collection for one of my drawings.  Here, Peggie is drawing a Mayfly that John had brought to the workshop.

Here's my first drawing of the day.  Suzanne had set up several pieces of wood outside on the porch, asking us to look at the bark... the texture of the pieces and to use several kinds of marks of the pen to suggest that.

Then we were to choose an insect to draw... this was the luna moth from Peggie's colletion... and, unfortunately, one part of the wing broke off while I was looking at it... I sketched the break...

As the last assignment, we were to do a composite of several things we saw around the site... so here's my take on that.

I didn't bring the little bird that was on my porch for the workshop but felt it was appropriate to draw the one that Suzanne had there.  Poor little things, both of them.  But the way she looks at these dead things is in a way to honor them.  I can say that I've seen both in a way that's clearer than I ever have noticed these little creatures before because of today's experiences with them.

And, then ... to end the day... here's a view of my car being blocked from driving on up to the cottage by the tree that was across the road!  I took the photo as I walked on up, about 1/4 of a mile to make a call to let someone know that the road was blocked.  Rescue came a short time later so now, all's well.  So even retreat days can be full of excitement of one kind or another!

1 comment:

  1. Your sketches are wonderful! I can see where this can be very helpful in your tapestry...the use of texture and light. The difference in the light on the red door is very interesting!