Last week I was thinking about some of my lifetime goals such as building a kayak, visiting Iceland, taking hot air balloon ride (which I want to do for my 30th birthday), gardening more, etc… Among my goals is to become a better naturalist. Exploring my environment through art often raises the questions of “Why?” “What? and “How?” Why do the clouds look the way they do? What birds are out and about?… I’ve decided to stop telling myself, “someday I’ll learn that” and do a little every day. I’m a visual learner and am making myself one species 4″ x 6″ flash card every day. This month will be birds, next month may be wildflowers I’ve seen in the summer, the next month cloud varieties, etc… I’m delighted with the process so far and after nine days, I have nine birds. First thing in the morning I sit down at my desk and think about what I’d like to study. Then I look up the bird in David Sibley’s Guide to Birds and on Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology. I sketch it using various found images for inspiration and listen to the birdsong. So far so good! I’m learning and enjoying my new daily ritual.

Belted Kingfisher (click on image to view larger)

Anna's Hummingbird