Artist Story Tellers

by | Oct 8, 2020

Roseate Spoonbills standing in water. Egg tempera painting by Daniel Ambrose

Roseate Spoonbill egg tempera painting

During this pandemic, I’ve been riffling through my 30 year collection of sketchbooks for bird inspiration and found stories and spoonbills.

This Roseate Spoonbill egg tempera painting is a pair I observed and sketched in a quiet southern estuary decades ago. Shy by nature, I eased near them to make several drawings.

It was a winter morning, cloudless sky, a blameless blue. I nestled in the marsh grass with my sketchbook and waited for the wildlife to settle down. The sun burned bright and warm in the cool air.

Whether drawing a childhood place, or reflecting on a Maine Moonrise at Sunset, my habit is to acquaint myself with my surroundings. I note the time of day, sun position, air attributes and observe any movement. Engaging all my senses, primed to absorb the ways and whiffs of my environs.

Engaged and aware. All living organisms are in a state of almost imperceptible transformation.

I shut out twirling clocks and twisted news and tune in to the texture of sanctuary sounds. The murmur of tidal flow, bubbling oysters, warbling birds — the smack of a leaping silver mullet falling back into the shallow waters of this primal nursery.

I come in peace and absent pretense, to observe, learn and record. Not to disrupt, but to discover.

Friends near and far drift through my mind, sparkling like the ebb and flow of these waters. My cherished family of collectors. The brother and sisterhood of painters I know and respect. Each paying tribute and honoring the land in their own unique works of art.

Each of us traveling an artistic path tracing back thousands of years. Artist story-tellers. We are all story-tellers sharing our enchanting discoveries with the world.

Thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you.

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