Animals Bay Area Parks Drawing Ink and watercolor wash Life in general Sketchbook Pages

Happy Turkey (Vulture) Day; One More Thing to Be Thankful For

Turkey Vulture drawn from taxidermy specimen, ink & watercolor, 5x8"
Turkey Vulture drawn in ink from taxidermy specimen, ink & watercolor, 5×8″

So here it was the day before Thanksgiving and I wanted to draw a turkey. I called around trying to find a live one to sketch but failed. Then I tried to find a taxidermy turkey. No luck. The ranger at the Tilden Nature Center said they did have a collection of taxidermy birds including owl, songbirds, turkey vulture…but no turkey.

Wait! Turkey Vulture! It’s a bird, it’s named Turkey so why not? I called back to confirm they had it in stock (they rent it out: $10 for two weeks) and then drove up to Tilden Park.

Turkey Vulture: It's Value, ink & watercolor 5x16"
Turkey Vulture: It’s Value, drawn from specimen with notes from display case, ink & watercolor 5×16″

Here are a few interesting things about Turkey Vultures:

  • Turkey vultures (nicknamed “buzzard”) have a 5-6 foot wing span; “there is no more graceful bird in flight” but they have weak legs so walk awkwardly
  • In order to fly they need a run into the wind to lift off and can fly 60 miles per hour
  • Vultures are the “garbage collector of the bird world” and eat everything from dead mouse to moose.
  • If they are in danger and can’t run, they vomit their foul-smelling meal at their enemy.
  • Be thankful for them: “Without vultures, much of the world would be cluttered with the bodies of dead decaying animals.”

I’m Thankful For…

Along with turkey vultures, here are some things I’m grateful for:

  • YOU, my dear blog visitor and reader,
  • my much-loved friends and family, and
  • the freedom, security, comfort, and good health that allow me to live this wonderful creative life.

I know none of the above is guaranteed or permanent so I try to be grateful every day, not just Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for?

Drawing Ink and watercolor wash Painting Sketchbook Pages

A Thousand Thanks (well,1,003 to be accurate)

Autumn leaves just turning, ink & watercolor, 7x5"
Autumn leaves just turning. I love the way their shadows also reflect their colors. Ink & watercolor, 7x5"

Thanksgiving is an autumn harvest holiday, celebrated by eating as much of the harvest as possible in one day. It’s also a time to consider all we have to be thankful for. When I published blog post #1000 last week, that milestone also made me pause and reflect on gratitude.

One important thing I’m grateful for is you, my wonderful blog readers/friends who give me so much encouragement and support and who so often say exactly what I need to hear when you leave comments.

Autumn leaves, ink & watercolor, 7x5"
Autumn leaves with colorful shadows, ink & watercolor, 7x5"

Thank you for your inspiration, humor, advice, encouragement and for taking the time to share a few moments of your day with me. I treasure the friendships I’ve made via blogging. Some have led to in-person friendships, others have remained virtual, but all are incredibly valuable.

Along with the rewards gained from sharing my work and my thoughts, blogging has helped me to improve and grow as an artist and has led to many artistic and personal discoveries along the way.

I feel so lucky to live in a time when artists around the world can share, inspire and learn from each other. So I offer up a thousand thanks to all of you! 

A few blog stats: Since I started JanasJournal in May 2006, I’ve published 1,103 posts, which received 10,120 comments, and almost 1 million “hits.”  Meanwhile WordPress’s excellent spam catcher has caught and deleted 90,000 spam comments. Whew!