A Letter to the Fans of Esther Rayde
5 years ago
Wanted to share my latest (last?) post. Though it's not my intent to stop, I did come to some sort of an ending point and haven't journaled since (for various "reasons"). I found it much harder writing about places I'd never been, and got too busy to do research on them—probably why all the map making entered in. (Actually Leonard is back in the states now, so...)Her comments hit on some points that I believe make the fake journal an interesting exercise in artmarking and journaling: experimentation, the use of new materials, and the realization of how our choices can aid or hinder our process. I hope that if you are thinking of starting a fake journal you take a moment to read past posts from other artists on this blog and reflect on how their choices helped them. It will enable you to eliminate some of the obstacles you might encounter.
I did 14 pages and feel very accomplished about that. I enjoyed experimenting with the colored pencils, it lead me on to using them more in my "real" art. Also impelled me to take Kate Johnson's WC pencil class.
Thanks for giving me the inspiration to try the fake journal. "We" both thank you!
09.04.28 7:30 p.m.Recto:
The cardinal pair were busy in the compound grounds today. The femail had an air of satisfaction.
Sunny, 61 degrees F. and cloudless. Stunningly beautiful today. I spent it riding my bike back and forth between old Hwy 5 and the derelict Ford Plant. With the wind, against the wind, with the wind again. Over and over; finally back to the compound. Lou keeping up…despite his Bob Hoskins physique.
This morning I held Chuck's hand. His breathing was shallow…difficult. "Never give up," he said, squeezing my fingers firmly. "Tell my boys…" he paused. "Everything," I said. He nodded ever so slightly. Then he was gone. I could see the clock on the bedside table—9:53.
"One crow sorrow…"Recto:
Shocked. Unprepared. I thought I would never see another crow—decimated in 2002. Suddenly here was one on the crumbling river road wall where I sat waiting for turkeys, hoping, with Lou who felt sorry for me. He came out with me tonight out of pity, but he keeps his distance. When the crow flew off I found a dead bunny on the other side of the wall. At least Lou can verify the sighting.
This morning the doctor tested my eyes. He had to be here for Chuck so everyone's physicals were moved up. I needed new glasses—happily a high priority—my eyes belong to the state.
This afternoon I sat with Chuck. He's worse if that is even possible. It doesn't matter it's not transferable through contact—no one but the meds will see him—no one but me. We chat, when he isn't sleeping restlessly. And I started reading him "Great Expectations," which seemed a happier choice than "Moby Dick" the only other book I could find.
"Never apologize for your genetics," he said to me.
Lacking a superstitious nature the crow would only amuse Chuck.
Tilt to headRecto Page:
Head on they seem impossibly wide
There's a dark split running down the neck feathers
End feathers higher on this receding leg
The feet are very strong looking with thick toes
Fourth toe held over pad of foot and not clearly visible in the sketch.
09.04.26 4 p.m.
Overcast, the ground is damp from the storms early this morning
10:30 p.m. I sat with Chuck last night and he seemed better. Today I joined up with Lou's crew and went to the firing range to keep up the skills Chuck insists on. Lou is pretty intense, but there is a lot of joking in his people too. Alec was talking a mile a minute. In general people just left me alone. This afternoon Lou sat with me and Morgan so we could sketch turkeys outside the compound. The doctor was checking out Chuck.
This evening I was shocked to see how bad Chuck was. He'd been vomitting [sic] and his fever was still too high (103). He's having trouble breathing. I sat with him for an hour until the med tech kicked me out.
We had a good talk though…slow. "You're like a little dog who things she's a big dog," he laughed, coughing, struggling for breaths. He was talking about Ken Darling's fire riot. "Don't change." I don't like him talking like that—it's so final.
[label] One decided to stare at me off and on for a short while. They have impossibly large eyes.
taller space but legs all hiddenRecto (top)
09.04.25 4 P.m. Bald Eagle!! On an old lampost on the edge of the old freeway 94 visible just outside the compound. I was told as a child these were extinct. I never thought I would see one—almost didn't catch it but it turned its head at the exact moment a ray of sunlight hit it—brilliant, unmistakable, incredibly large! Even Lou was excited!Across the base of the spread:
Chuck collapsed last night and is in the infirmary—at least we have one. It was hard watching Gordie ill and dying in Chicago with no medical help—except me, "the first responder." It's how I got assigned to the field in the first place—first responder status.
The med tech—Joe—doesn't know what's up with Chuck. A doctor will arrive tomorrow—high fever, stiffness. It's serious. I'm scared. I keep thinking "he's strong," but I've seen that doesn't matter much ultimately.
Everyone is treating me like a pariah, but Lou suggested Fleck and I come along with his team today—crows and songbirds at Witch's Hat. Afterwards he sat with me while I sketched outside the compound. He seems to know I have to keep busy.
I'd love to get on the old highway—with my bike, glide down the empty spaces. Trouble is the freeze thaw cycle has left them full of potholes + cracks. And then Chuck gave me a lecture when we got the bikes about problems with sniper fire from scavengers wanting our gear.
Everyone was subdued today and Chuck was esspecially quiet. (His left eye and cheek are horribly swollen but he told Roger he was good to go so we went back to Hidden Falls to look for more geese.
On the bike ride home this afternoon this female pileated woodpecker swooped out of one of the abandoned houses on Mississippi Blvd. That dipping strong swoop that woodland birds h. She was parallel to me for a short while. I had to stop. Chcuk let me sketch her while Fleck took lots of photos.
Because of the fire pit and problems last night there is a two-city wide kerfew [sic—curfew], but even at 4:30 it was already abandoned—empty on our route.
Chuck begged off a sketch session tonight so he could rest. Rather than go out with Lou or Hopper I just did paperwork and worked on my geese illustrations.
Pileated (symbol for female) woodpecker
Brown-ochre tones in the forehead and along top of the beak.
09.04.24 4:30 p.m.
A little bit of white ticking on the breast feathers on the side of the breast.
10:30 p.m.—We're all back safe—more or less. Chuck has a black eye. We were returning from H. Falls when a woman came running down one of the cracked side streets picking her way through the weedy asphault [sic] yelling!! There was a fire in the corner park an old Ronald MacDonald statue from the children's hospice there seemed to be standing guard—colors faded, arm broken off.
Chuck got out in front. A small crowd was milling about. Then's when Ken Darling saw us. I recognized him from the posters and was going to call Chuck's attention to it be [sic—but] I could tell by a look Chuck already knew. We'd been told to watch out for Darling—he's the last of the neighborhood watch—a diehard.
He came charging at us and literally bounced off of Chcuk who'd got off his bike. Then on the rebound Ken made the mistake of grabbing Fleck—who immediately crumpled, whimpering. I don't like to be hit either, but it if it going to happen anyway give as good as you get—so I dropped my bike and stomped on Ken's foot while he was kicking Fleck with the other one. Boots always trump sneakers. Ken fell back two steps screaming not in pain, though is face showed it, but about there not being enough bat houses in the area. He cocked his arm, ready to punch me. "Take care of us not the damn birds," he shouted in my face. That's when Chuck got between us and was all over him. Free for all—with the fire stragglers joining in. Ken pulled a knife on Chuck who got him down on the ground just as a guard unit showed up. (Fleck had called them!) They bundled Ken into a jail van—he was screaming about flu, warm temps, and mosquitoes, as they dragged him to the van. Some guards stayed behind to break up the crowd and clear the pit. We stayed to assess the damage. We found 31 partially burned birds—12 turkeys, 5 downy woodpeckers, one male cardinal, 7 crows, 5 pigeons, and a ROBIN!!
The guard science officer said he'd send us a report but he would bet they were all trapped or poisoned. It's what Darling does….Now they have him on assault with a deadly weapon. They were jubilent [sic].
09.04.23 7 p.m.
Hidden Falls 73 degrees F. with storm clouds and no storm. My ink is congealing on the pen nib! I love this neckline view. I'm sure I have enough details to use it for Fleck's article illustrations.
look at the level angle
We got geese. River Flats and Hidden Falls. Fleck and I prefer H.F. as it's larger and provides more species. A tactical nightmare for Chuck.
After a day of sketching geese and helping Fleck at H.F. I have zero inclination to be shut in with the others. Chuck came out here to the vacant lot with me. How grand to spot a dog—so rare in any urban area effected by the 2005 urban die off. Ownerless dogs rounded up and euthanized. Holistics crusading with their "no safe dogs" laws. I always believed people—wherever they were would have dogs despite the Holistics. Perhaps we're living in a sorting out period. Yet here comes this little hypothyroid-looking Jack Rus. Terrier mix out of the shrubs—contained in a cloud of white feathery fluff! No contact of course, but I had to sketch him as he searched about in the failing light. It's hard some times to remember the familiar shapes. Some corps members still have dogs at home but he's lucky Michelle is no longer with us.
09. 04.22 8 p.m. 56 degrees F calm after another blustery day.
Topline visible but then there is feathering all over the body and beyond.
Lots of feathering on the legs.
All this feathering around the body is bad enough but on the feet you can't see where the structure is!
Well I'm glad I wasn't assigned the turkey population! After a full day drawing geese and ducks down by the river at Hidden Falls I can hardly concentrate on the shape of this raptor cousin, let along focus on the pattern and color of its feathers. Pedaling back in the 25 mph winds with 40 mph gusts (almost constant) didn't help either.Recto:
I was glad to be greeted by feeding turkeys outside the compound. And even happier when Chuck suggested I sketch before dinner. I'm still persona non grata around here.
09.04.21 4:30 p.m.
What is she looking at? This Hen outside the compound was constantly looking up into the sky.
The pages of this journal are now so bulky they are hard to hold down while sketching.
Sprinting across the cracked tarmac
Leading edge on ground and this portion up [refers to bird's foot]
They are walking away today—or so it seems
Head shape works
dip about to raise wings
09.04.20 2 p.m. Target Parking Lot
Brow has slight overhang from this angle.
ack too short
tail doing something odd
Stretching a wing
head down and turning away
sense of a brow here too
8:30 p.m. Last night there was a lot of anger—again directed at me. Others wanted the chicken dead. whether they agreed with Michelle's actions or not (and Hopper did!)
Chuck played his harmonica last night in an impromptu concert with Fleck on guitar. An obvious attempt to diffuse the situation and distract everyone—but hey it worked. Chuck also got us assigned to Target today so I could draw more gulls. And it's away from everyone else. Fleck has been taking lots of photos and today was no different.
It took me a while to warm up—I'm still stunned by Michelle's action—but I got some good final sketches on watercolor paper by the end of the day. Roger was pleased.
It was only in the low 50 degrees and overcast (morning rain) but still comfortable to sketch.
Michelle had been transported out on helicopter by the time we returned.