Birds on the Brain

It hasn’t quite been a week that I’ve been here at the Jentel Residency, but I’m already being productive, which I have to confess is something of a relief. As in the Netherlands, I came here without a strong idea of precisely what I’d be doing, but I’m keeping myself busy, and have a project emerging from that activity, I think. It’s winter here in north central Wyoming, so that’s limited my outdoor ramblings a bit, so it seems likely that I’ll be working in a different “style” than I did this summer, or even in the Netherlands. That may change as the month passes, but I’ve spent the past four or five days being a little more introspective than exploratory, but I’m exploring in a little bit of a different way.

It seems like a good time to be a little experimental with my work, so I’ve been revisiting something I started to work on this past spring, and rediscovered in one of the sketchbooks that I brought with me. Actually, let me be more decisive about it: I’m MAKING work, not experimenting. “Experimenting” just sounds like I’m trying to tip-toe around having my work exposed to criticism. So, the work I’m making is more illustrative in nature than related to photography.

Some of you may remember that I did my first-ever screenprinting last year, when I put a pair of designs on some baby clothes, some of which are still available at the Danforth Gallery (shameless plug!). One of those images was of a magpie… or rather a caricatured magpie. I liked how it came out, so I’ve been making a whole series of little birds this week. At the moment, I have six done. I’ve actually put them in a gallery on the site: you can either follow this link, or click through via the “Other Projects” tab at the top of this page.

Judging from the last few entries, I apparently have birds on the brain this month, since I’ve talked about dippers and cartoon ducks. I don’t know why this is, but I think what it comes down to is that I just like birds, although I’ve never felt inclined to have one as a pet. I’ve never really considered myself a birdwatcher, but I suppose I probably am a form of one. Heck, I’m just an animal watcher in general, as many of these journal entries attest.

So, keep an eye on that gallery– I’ll be adding more birds as I go. And if you have a specific bird request or suggestion, let me know! I’ve started off just working on Montana birds, but if you think I should make a painted bunting, send your recommendation to me.

Working on this project has actually got the wheels in my head turning about doing another one, which is good. This one really might be a little more experimental, though, since it involves me trying a medium a little more unfamiliar to me than drawing or photography. I’ll keep it a little under my hat for now, but I hope to get some supplies to work on it this month. So, consider that a tantalizing clue.

Meanwhile, the Summit to Sea Project has entered it’s last ten days of fundraising– only nine left, actually. Pledges seem to have come to a standstill these past several days, so help us get that meter running again! We’re running out of time, and unfortunately still have nearly 80% of our goal to meet yet!

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