Saturday, September 17, 2022

“Our” Jays


9/5/22 Steller's jay (Prismacolors in Uglybook)

Unlike last year when they began showing up in our yard as early as May, “our” Steller’s jays didn’t begin visiting until July this year. Sporadic at first, now they show up almost every time we are out on the deck for meals (which has been nearly daily for lunch and dinner this summer). I keep the plastic bin of peanuts on the railing while we are out there. After they’ve finished eating the handful I’ve put out for them, often they will sit patiently on the deck railing waiting for more, only a few feet from us. Sometimes they are less patient: They have pecked hard on the bin until it falls off, complaining about the poor service.

Over the summer, I’ve made numerous gesture sketches in graphite when they’ve sat for me because a pencil is always handy. I’ve been wanting to make a color sketch, but I knew that if I got up from the table to go get my colored pencils, that would be the end of their sitting. I decided to select a few colors and put together a compact kit that I could grab every time we went out there for meals. For the sketchbook, I planned on using an Uglybook containing black paper, which I thought would reduce the amount of time I would need to capture the color.



Days went by when the birds ate plenty but didn’t stop to pose for me. Finally on Labor Day, my patience paid off. Two jays showed up, so my sketch at top of post may be a composite of both, and it took a few sittings of a couple of minutes each to grab various details until eventually I finished. I paid my models for their time.


I’m pleased to put my black Uglybook into action even before nocturne season! I’d also like to try using a dark blue Uglybook, so I put one in the kit, too, for the next time the sitters cooperate.


The paper looks blue here, but it's black.

Rickshaw Bagworks Coozy case. The Uglybooks are inside
the main zipped compartment.

My handsome model on 7/25/22
Oh, it looks like I now have 8 Uglybooks in rotation!
Sticker flair from the Etsy shop Ernest Theodore.


  1. You are doing so well sketching the birds!!!

    1. Thanks so much! I love sketching them, and they are often cooperative models!


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