today’s doodles – barn swallows and owl

swallows on a wire
swallows on a wire

Since my last post I have been pretty busy but at least three weeks of that was a busy vacation! That’s the best kind of busy 😀

Last fall, I was playing around with something called “Zentangle”. It was pretty fun but didn’t ever seem me. Last weekend, I decided to try the technique out on something real instead of an abstract form. The swallows above are the result… with a fair amount of “cheating” – that is I didn’t really follow the rules. Anyway, I was fairly happy with the result so I decided to do another this weekend and that is the owl below.

Northern Saw-whet Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl

It is really fun to express the form and even emotion using patterns instead of rendering the birds in a truly realistic way. These are both done with ink on paper and are about 3.5″x5″. After the ink was done, I did some shading with pencil for volume and a hint of colour with water colour pencil. I didn’t use any water on them though because the paper isn’t very thick and would have buckled.

I found the photo of the owl here. It’s small on the page but you can click to make it larger and see where the inspiration came from. I know owls are fierce predators but they are awfully cute too!

UPDATE: New poem from Tom in the comments! Delightful! thanks!!

“I’m feeling something abstract here,
upon this strand of wire,
as if the Artist had no fear,
was willing to acquire

a method new, a novel set
of rules to break and bend
with pencil shading, ink of jet–
it seems just slightly zen!”


“O, I say… do you not see
the pattern weaving deep
within the fabric of the world
where silent truths still sleep?

What a pity, for in truth
there’s beauty undiscovered
by all who see just surfaces
and think they have uncovered

all there is to know and see
through all of space and time
but those who know the pattern’s there
they see the world sublime!”

images (cc) 2015 Hilary J. Farmer

poems (c) 2015 TJ Radcliffe


whoooo goes there???

I wouldn’t like to give that owl the wrong password!

I was messing around with the filters on my drawing and this is the result. I am not sure that I prefer the effect in general but for this owl it seems to give a nice texture. I removed the texture from the eyes and tongue to keep them glossy looking. (Thanks for the idea my friend!) Anyway, I’d love to hear what you think!

In the meantime, check out this comic from Nedroid… He’s got my training program at the moment beautifully expressed! (Well, minus the hover text – lol)

UPDATE: This just in – new poem from Tom in the comments capturing the essence of owlness…

In every wood there are a few who watch:
the Guardians, who stand before the gates
where forest touches field.

Old Owl is one, sharp-eyed and sharp of beak,
who challenges the night with screeching calls,
stands firm and will not yield.

The secrets of the trees are safe and sound
while Owl watches all that moves below
her high arboreal lair.

Then she takes wing and falls in silent flight
across the dusky sky to dawn patrol
the Portals of the Air.

Copyright (C) 2010 Tom Radcliffe

ANOTHER UPDATE: Do check the comments if you think you might be amused by another poem from Tom – this one in comic free verse form… I think it’s just been invented…

image (cc) 2010 Hilary Farmer