I have been so cooped up the past six months recovering from Ulcerative Colitis and having surgery, that I want to be outside constantly now that I am feeling amazing again. Monday I was really in the mood to do art, but it was gorgeous out and I didn’t want to stay in my studio indoors. Instead, I packed up my nature journaling supplies and headed to the Wheat Ridge Greenbelt hoping to sketch some of the waterfowl that frequents the park. Every winter, my bird I.D. skills get a little rusty, and sketching is the perfect way to refresh my memory. When I journal, I usually go out without an exact plan and just let my curiosity lead the way. I wasn’t five minutes down the trail when I caught a glimpse of a spectacular green-winged teal standing on a rock in the middle of Clear Creek. I say a glimpse because he flew off as soon as I pointed my binoculars in his direction. However, in the same area, I saw some American Wigeons and Northern Shovelers. I sat down to record them in my journal. As always, when I sketch in busy places, people love to stop and chat. Today was no exception– I got to hear all kinds of stories about birds people had seen and their nature adventures. It is pretty neat to be able to connect to people this way when creating art.
When I was done sketching at the creek, I headed east on the path and spotted a boardwalk going into some cattails in an area of the park I had never explored before. I knew something had to be hiding by the pond in that direction, and soon found some mallards along the shore. One male I was viewing couldn’t decide whether to stay in the water or on land which made for some frustrating sketching. I finally gave up and decided a portrait of his feet would have to do.
As the sun sank behind the foothills, I packed up. Before I returned to the car, I took a minute to enjoy the present moment. I closed my eyes, felt the last rays of sun warm my face, and listened to the calls of the birds in the cattails– content with my “Just Ducky” day.