Image Number 7 shows the Jay Family Arriving at the South

In this case, south is definitely relative. Ashland, Oregon is only the South in that it’s in southern Oregon, a fairly northern state.

Today I pruned the Oregon Berry bushes in the front yard. They’re hardy, thorny, glossy-leaved bushes, just about the only thing that thrives in our granite soil. They were growing against the house and I had delayed pruning them for too long. As I was pruning away, I noticed that one of the shorn branches had a nest hidden in it. I thought this must be one of last year’s nests, and tossed the branch, nest an all, onto the brush pile. I moved to the other side of the yard to prune, and noticed a mated pair of Stellar Jays fluttering over the bush I had just pruned. Then the male flew to the brush pile and started looking around near the nest. At that point, I realized that I had cut down their home. I was horrified.

I told my partner about the nest, and she also was horrified. She rushed to the garden shed and found a ball of twine. We removed the nest from the pruned branch and perched it in the crotch of a three-pronged branch, as high as possible, then secured it with the twine.

We moved away from the nest hoping that the jays would return, but, alas, there were gone. Eventually we went back to our chores. Then I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye — the female jay was in the nest and the male was perched on a branch above her. Then they both flew away.

We’re hoping that the jays will accept the nest and stay to raise a family. I realize that their original nest was perfect for them — they chose the precise location they felt safe in and built their home one twig at a time. As good as our intentions were, and as hard as we tried to duplicate their original nesting, I would not be surprised if they don’t like the new, more exposed position of the nest. They may decide to build their home in a friendlier neighborhood. Ah, as much as I understand how they must feel to lose their home and return to find it mangled, I would love for them to stay.


A Left-Brained Day at My Day Job

The problem with my day job is that I spend intense hours working with the left side of my brain. The best thing about my job is that I’m good at it, and make good use of that left side. The downside is that it sometimes takes hours to cool down enough to wake my right brain from its slumber. Sounds like an excuse, even to me. I think it would be good for me to sit down when I’m off work, do some deep breathing, and then meditate until I calm down.

I did spend about two hours learning how epubs are formatted. I downloaded Apple Author, a draggy-droppy ebook creator that looks good, but it only creates ibooks. I expected that. Thinking I would want to covert ibooks to generic epub books or Kindle ebooks, I downloaded Calibre. It converts between most epub formats, including ibooks. I’m always wary of Apple and their annoying proprietary formats.

After looking at Calibre, I spent some time with inDesign learning how to add text and images to my 32-page file. Tomorrow I’ll fill in more pages with text and images. One day at a time, one hour at a time, one inch at a time.

Here’s another doodle.

Drawn with Pilot Frixion gel pen

Drawn with Pilot Frixion gel pen

Unsung Heroes of Illustration

The last two days I spent many hours going through Pete Beard’s series “Unsung Heroes of Illustration.” Pete, an illustrator and teacher at university, is “trying to raise the profile of illustrators from the past to a level in keeping with their creative contributions.” His efforts are certainly working for me.

In addition to documenting the unsung heroes of illustration, Pete covers illustration in 1950s Britain, the history of French illustration, illustrated propaganda in WW1 and WW2, women in illustration, the art of the cartoon, art deco illustration, and the story of children’s book illustration. Wonderful.

Here’s the video featuring Maxfield Parrish starting at 0:45…

This video is second in a series looking at the work of some great illustrators you've probably never heard of