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“Deer Evidence” by Kristin Gjerdset 2014

Watercolor and Ink

Deer are found year round in Wisconsin but it was nice to come across a tuft of deer hair as the first sign of life on the trail. This was followed by deer tracks…and the eventual finding of deer scat. Chickadees flitted about, crows cawed above, and I shivered as I worked. What was forecasted to be a 50 degree day was actually a 30 degree day with wind. Field studies were challenging but the sun was out and birds were active…and migrating, too. I saw my first horned larks. Unfortunately, they were too far away to sketch or photograph but I was grateful for the binoculars to verify what they were. It was a pair, talking sweetly in the open field.

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I hiked to a small creek area, where I found more green growth….and bulbous red appearing. It was what I believe to be a pitcher plant. Granted, they are not kind to insects but their color was a welcome sight.

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“Pitcher Plant Pair” by Kristin Gjerdset 2014

Watercolor and Ink

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“New Bud Rising” by Kristin Gjerdset 2014

Watercolor and Ink

While painting the pitcher plants, I heard something fall. I looked in the direction of the sound, realizing the snow on top of a green bud had dropped, as it had reached upward. I am unsure exactly how to express how I felt, except that joy was a part of it. I witnessed a moment of change for a subject one rarely experiences in the process of changing. We know plants transform but ever so slow, that we never really see it, except perhaps only with a time lapse camera. This was quite a gift.

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A flock of sandhill cranes ended the day. I had been hearing them constantly while painting but never seeing them. I had given up on any hope of that until unexpectedly, overhead, they appeared. I could not help but think David’s Psalm nineteen, verse one. To me it expresses the moment appropriately: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of his hand,” as the cranes made their trumpet calls above.

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“Dead Deer, Havenwoods State Forest” by Kristin Gjerdset 2014

Watercolor, pencil and ink

The next day was even colder with no sun. It seemed fitting on that dreary looking day to find a partially decomposed deer in the grasses…though I realized as I painted her, in death she gives life, feeding the landscape with her body.

That day ended with seeing a pair of eastern bluebirds for the first time.

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“Wehr Nature Studies” by Kristin Gjerdset 2014

Watercolor, pencil and ink

My final weekend day was spent at Whitnall Park, hiking the trails. This day was even colder but I found I was much more comfortable than I had been the previous two days.  A tiny pine cone and diminutive iris type plant caught my attention, as well as a chickadee and Canada goose. The botanical subjects were more cooperative models versus my avian friends but I certainly appreciated their activity.

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As I was leaving the trail, movement suddenly erupted from the tree above. A flock of cedar waxwings was revealed. I spent a few minutes admiring them and getting a couple of photos. Then they flew off. And so did my spirit. It was a very good weekend.

 

 

 

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