|8/4/21 Steller's jay|
Feeding peanuts to Steller’s jays in the backyard while we feed ourselves on the deck has become our regular mealtime entertainment. I put a handful of nuts out on a tray, and within minutes, the pair that lives nearby takes turns grabbing them. They linger for only a second or two at a time, so sketching is hard work. With each grab-and-go, I manage to make a line or two to refine or correct various gestures that I work on simultaneously. Fortunately, the two birds look nearly identical (I think they are a mated pair, but I can’t tell the male from the female), so I sketch them interchangeably as I add more marks to the same sketches.
When I finally got the proportions right on one, I decided to focus on that one to finish. After I got the drawing done in graphite, I went inside to add a bit of blue to the tail and wings while the details were fresh in my memory. I regretted it later because the color obscures some of the form. So I’m also showing here the graphite-only drawing (at right).
Maybe this winter I’ll use one of Greg’s photos of these lovely birds to make a full-color drawing. Or not. Drawing from life is so much more fun (and certainly more challenging).