Hey everyone. I just want to reassure you that there will continue to be a presence on Birdchick, although I am sooo not a Birdchick. I'm more like a birdhen. I've been beating my artistic brains out the last few days, trying to get the wing angles and attitudes just right on my ivory-bill drawing. Feedback from the commissioning author, Jerome Jackson, widely acknowledged as the world's expert on ivory-billed woodpeckers, has been copious and much appreciated. In the end, we went through five drafts, fine-tuning each primary, and then went back to the original drawing, just because it was lively, and cooler than all the rest. I want to make a painting that is alive, with a bird in a pose and at an angle that hasn't been done before. It's worth the risk that some ornithologist or self-proclaimed expert will tear it apart; I'll stack my ivory-bill reference file up next to anybody's. The world doesn't need another tentative ivory-bill painting. There's really nothing out there to refer to on flying birds, save one photo James Tanner took from directly beneath a bird leaving its nest cavity.
The metaphor in all this has not escaped me. Nobody can prove my drawing's wrong, because nobody really knows what an ivory-bill looks like when it's coming right at you. I'm flying by the seat of my pants, but everyone is. And nobody can prove the ivory-bill isn't somewhere in Arkansas. Now, if someone would just prove beyond all doubt that the Log-God is among us...The possibility that someone somewhere is going to come up with definitive proof stokes my fire. That, and the knowledge, deep in my heart, that it was never gone in the first place.
The world has never needed bird painters more than now, when we're all starving for images of this legendary species. I love messing about with tracing paper and smeary pencils, trying to find the perfect wing.