Wednesday, May 6, 2009
etegami and birdwatching
In my early years of etegami, I drew mostly vegetables and fruit. Then, with some trepidation, I graduated to flowers. Those have been traditional subjects of etegami and they were perfect for learning the basic techniques of the art. But as I began to run out of new things to draw, I grabbed whatever was at hand. A tea cup. My cell phone. An old pair of shoes. In a separate, non-etegami-conscious, part of my life, I took the first baby steps towards a new hobby. Bird-watching. I put together makeshift birdfeeders and set them out in my yard near the window so I could watch from inside the house. I observed the birds with binoculars, and I googled to make even closer observations and learn more about them. It wasn't long before I started drawing them. I enjoyed capturing the identifying characteristics of each type of bird without the pressure of complete accuracy or realism. Etegami is cool that way. A friend said to me, "I like how your hobbies have come together." Being a voracious reader, I was already using quotes from favorite books to accompany the drawings. But my friend's comment opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities for etegami. I'll be blogging more about this in the future. For today, I've attached my earliest bird etegami. The bird is called Shime in Japanese, and is apparently a kind of Hawfinch. The black band around its eyes, the shape of the beak, and the color of its feathers are the identifying characteristics. Mine turned out plump and fluffy. Not unlike me, actually. The accompanying words are adapted from Job 12:7 "Ask the birds of the air and they will tell you."