Wednesday, 5 November 2014

#580 In the Field: Birds of the North Country, con't . . .

On September 24 of this year, beginning with post #568, I started
a series of posts describing time spent at my beloved studio and
cabin located on an island on Lake of the Woods in Ontario, Canada.
There are many earlier posts about the cabin as well and they all describe
inspiration derived from being immersed in a wilderness
environment.  Since the early 1960s, the Canadian
North Country has been and continues to be,
an important source for my art.

Please see the previous post for more information about
birds of the North Country.
The focus of this post is the Ruffed Grouse.

Although many birds migrate or move south out of the frozen North Country and Ontario's Lake of the Woods region, some stay throughout the winter:  Among those who remain are the Ruffed Grouse, the Gray Jay, northern owls
such as the Great Gray, Boreal, and the Snowy, winter finches such as Pine and Evening Grosbeak,
Northern Shrike, Bohemian Waxwing, some woodpeckers, ravens, chickadees, and others.

When the woods are locked in the grip of winter, birds must be active to stay alive and sunny days mean
frantic feeding activity.  Ruffed Grouse are hardy, know their habitat and rarely starve . . . they hunker
down in a snowbank for cover and shelter when the air temperature drops below zero.
Trapped air in the snow provides a warmer cover and protection from the biting wind.

Shown at left, is a taxidermy mount of a Ruffed Grouse
that resides in the island studio on Lake of the Woods.
I have a large collection of taxidermy mounts
of birds and mammals in both the Canada
and Wyoming studios.  Taxidermy can be a
great reference for the artist but does not
take the place of knowing the anatomy or
experiencing the critter in the field.

Below, is a drawing from my ever-present sketchbook of a Ruffed Grouse.

 I have been working on a sculpture of a pair of Ruffed Grouse in the Wyoming studio for several years.
The clay model originated as two separate block-in demonstrations for students in workshops and I
combined them into a pair.  Next summer, I plan to take the model to the Canada studio to work on,
hopefully finish, and take to mold.  There are so many Ruffed Grouse on the island and since
I believe an artist is truly inspired by their surroundings, the creative juices will flow!  

Below, are images of the Ruffed Grouse sculpture in progress . . . can't wait to take it to Canada!

More about Ruffed Grouse in next Sunday's post.

Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information. 

Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish

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