Winter Wanderings

Autumn is my favorite season, but my heart holds quite a bit of love for Winter too. I love the crisp feel of winter air and walking among the bare trees I adore. There's a stillness in winter that's perfect for introspection--for listening. Have you ever stopped to listen to the earth? I spend a lot of time listening and thinking, wandering and daydreaming. It's where my art is born. If I don't have that stillness my focus becomes cloudy and my thoughts are lost to chaos of our modern world. 

For the most part I'm able to keep my focus with short daily walks. They are part meditation and part creative process, both end up filling a need. And of course, I often find little treasures along the way. The feather I photographed below belongs to a Mourning Dove--I think! 

My daydreams and wanderings always make their way into my art. I have little sketches and ideas jotted on slips of paper all over my table. I try to keep it in order. That usually lasts about a week. I find I'm most open to my art when I have everything I need around me. If I tuck it all away, the visions fade away.

One of the benefits of living in the country are the magnificent sunsets I get to see. The ones from my front door aren't too bad either.

The land is a being who remembers everything.
— Joy Harjo

The Bird Whisperer Project

Next month will be the one year anniversary of the Bird Whisperer Project. The project now has its own Facebook page and this week, on Wednesday, we'll be posting the final bird of the year. Wow!! Who would have thought this little idea would grow into such a fantastic and fun monthly challenge.

How did it all begin?

The adventure began with friendship. Melissa Gay and I only knew each other online till JordanCon 2015, when we became roomies and besties. Afterwards, it was clear we shared some common interests, namely birds. In early January of this year, the idea was born after I posted one of my crow sketches on Facebook. See the comments in the image below.

"Let's do it!" 

A flurry of Facebook messages ensued. We made plans to post once a month, to keep our work hidden from one another till posting day, etc. But we didn't know what we had or how it would be received. Two days later, we had a name...

Bird Whisperers

I'd forgotten these little details, these little moments that gave birth to the project. Thanks, Facebook! (Two words I thought I'd never say together!!)

#BirdWhisperer January 2016

That first month happened so fast. As the months went on we became more organized, found our groove and began attracting the attention of other artists. Erica Lyn Schmidt joined our ranks in April and has been with us ever since. In August, Rebecca Nipper officially joined the team. What began as a whim, evolved! It took me by surprise. Believe it or not, the focus of my art is not birds. GASP!! Birds do often make an appearance in my art, but I spend more time watching birds, identifying them and collecting their discarded nests and feathers. I realized in October I needed to set the project free. I will still be around, but I decided to hand over the reigns to Erica. She's done an amazing job in the last two months organizing a group for new members of the project and now a Facebook page too. I can't wait to see the project grow in 2017!

Here are some of my favorites from this past year.

Browse our Bird Whisperer Albums on Facebook to see all the previous month's birds and artworks.