Friday, January 25, 2013

Wings



" I have made a great mistake. I have wasted my life with mineralogy, 
which has led to nothing. Had I devoted myself to birds, their life and 
plumage, I might have produced something worth doing." 
 —John Ruskin

I was excited to read that this week's Illustration Friday topic is "wings", as I have just finished this drawing of  spotted owl and peregrine falcon feathers. It was a Christmas present for my son; I know, I know, it's January, but he has just returned from three months in New Zealand, so our celebration was postponed a bit.

As I've told you in a previous posts here and here, he's a field biologist currently working with the California Condor group at nearby Pinnacles National Monument. (Pinnacles was recently upgraded to national park status!) Before that, he worked with a spotted owl research project up in the Sierra. With a few months off between stints at Pinnacles, he took a working vacation to New Zealand—backpacking, photographing, and working on a local falcon project.

My son is one of those lucky adults who has a job that grew from a childhood fascination. As a little boy, he would count hawks to pass the time on our summer drives to Lake Tahoe, and requested that his 7th birthday cake be decorated with a peregrine falcon. I was able to unearth this photo (terribly out-of-focus, I'm afraid) to document my culinary creation. Twenty years later, I hope that he'll enjoy this drawing just as much.


Here are a few WIP shots...I always enjoy seeing them in posts; I hope you do, too!



14 comments:

  1. Beautiful! I love raptor feathers, and you did them justice. Your son sounds like a wonderful guy. Great cake :)

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  2. Absolutely gorgeous picture, and a lovely background tale, too. My own son (8) has a similar fascination with birds of prey - aided by a local Hawk Conservation Trust - although it is, at times, overshadowed by his obsession with steam locomotives.

    I shall have to show your lovely drawing to my son :-)

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  3. Your feathers are exquisite! I am in awe of the fine details that truly define the essence of what feather represents. And lucky son, to have such a cool job!

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  4. Beautiful. I so enjoy your illustrations being so realistic and academic. Love the falcon on your son's cake.

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  5. Stunning feather drawings, Sarah...and perfect timing for this week's IF prompt! I'm sure that cake was delicious too, but the blue icing made just a bit squeamish. (Odd thing for an artist who loves color, isn't that...?) The color reminds me of the blue popsicles of my childhood. What flavor were they, maybe banana?? Yes, lucky guy to have such a talented Mom and fantastic job!! :-)

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  6. Beautiful drawings Sarah. Love the story with it too.

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  7. Yes, it's wonderful when real life seeps into a piece so deeply. Beautiful!

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  8. Great touch here...I love how you managed to portray the softness of the feathers. Wonderful story, too. What a terrific feeling it is when your offspring leave the nest, pursue their dreams and achieve success.

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  9. Incredible Feathers! They are so delicate yet powerful. I love seeing the WIP. Your son is a lucky guy!

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  10. Amazing, they look so real I feel like I could touch them.

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  11. Your artwork always amazes me. They are so realistic looking I couldn't believe that they were a drawing.

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  12. These are so beautifully rendered! It is indeed wonderful that your son's work grew from a childhood passion. Love the calendar that you did!

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  13. Gorgeous, Sarah. Your work is so sensitive and lovely. And your son's job sounds incredibly cool.

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