March 29, 2009

Morning's Minion

We've had a special treat the past two mornings. Somewhere in our yard a marvelous bird has built a nest and, both yesterday and today, since we had the time to eat breakfast slowly and watch the garden outside the windows, we've been entertained. He likes the area near the bird feeder, where R scattered some seeds among the mulch, and he digs around, tossing up bits of bark and dry leaves to get at the food, almost dancing as he goes.

Given we know a big nothing about birds we don't have the first clue what kind this one is. But he's beautiful. Neither one of us have ever seen anything like him here, normally we get robins, chickadees, and starlings, and we're mesmerized.

This morning, I remembered Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem: The Windhover:

"I caught this morning morning's minion, king-
dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn falcon..."

Yeah, ok, this little guy's no falcon and he doesn't ride wind currents, but it's what I image "dappled" to be. So for me, it fits.

"...My heart in hiding.
Stirred for a bird, --the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!"

The full poem is here.

We've tried to take pictures but without a powerful enough zoom lens the best we could manage is these grainy distance shots.

And, on the printmaking front, I've launched into my Leonard Cohen print. This is the block with the image carbon paper-transferred to it, looking sort of paint-by-numbers. I know, it looks really busy. But, if all goes well, it won't be once it's done:

I finally got the chance to use my new, super duper, Daniel Smith "professional" brayer for the first colour and, dare I say it, I was initially disappointed. It picks up ink differently than the Speedball brayers do and it took some getting used to. Plus, I stupidly forgot that bigger blocks take more ink so I didn't mix a much as I should have and really had to lay some muscle into rolling it on the block to make it to the end of the run. However, I did get the hang of it finally and managed to get the results I wanted so all is good.

There's not much to see at this point, the first colour is the base. It's roughly 2/3 transparent medium, 1/3 white ink, and a very small amount of black.


Amie Roman said...

She's a Varied Thrush... I say she because she's quite a bit duller than her male counterpart. They have a spectacular song that's a harmonizing sound; most thrush family (like robins) have it to some extent, but this is very buzzy. They are around in the winter, but I find they start becoming more common around now. Listen for them on drizzly days around now in forested areas, often there'll be a group of them buzzing at each other through the tress; one of my favourite sounds of early spring drizzly days. Enjoy your visitor!

Katka said...

Thank you VERY much Amie. I was hoping you'd check in and tell me what kind of bird it was.
I suspected you'd know.