Bird Art

By Christy Esmahan, TAS Board Member

Things I had planned to do this spring:

  • Attend my son’s wedding.
  • Sell my house.
  • Move to Spain.

Things I’m actually doing this spring:

  • Hosting my son and his fiancé indefinitely since they fled from Boston.
  • Living in a house with half of my things packed, but which is no longer on the market.
  • Keeping in touch with friends and colleagues who are sheltering in place as a nation in Spain while their number of Covid-19 cases spirals up.
  • Taking an art class.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Drawing by Christy Esmahan.

But not just any art class. This is a pre-recorded on-line class recently offered by the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology: a drawing and watercolor painting class, with an emphasis on birds. The class is called Nature Journaling and Field Sketching, and a few weeks ago, when I started getting stressed out about the coronavirus situation, I happened upon the class.

I ordered the recommended supplies on-line and got started.

Not only is the teacher really sweet and encouraging and optimistic, but it was fun to post my “homework” assignments as I took the class at my own pace, and then scroll down and see what other people had done and shared in the last few months.

Canada goose with gosling. Drawing by Christy Esmahan.

Now, besides taking every opportunity to do backyard birding or maybe sneak out to a local park, I spend 30 to 40 minutes a day focusing on my drawings and paintings, which has brought me some much-needed peace of mind.

Kea. Drawing by Christy Esmahan.

My son’s wedding has been re-scheduled to October. I’ve no idea if we’ll be able to sell the house or move this year. And, like everyone else, I’m really worried.  I’m keeping up my vitamins and keeping my hands washed. But, in the meantime, I’m learning so much about different birds and finding surprising joy in doing so!