Birdspot. On the road. Drawing birds.
Lark Sparrows

Perhaps I should update my blog. This is a warm up, while I get used to the idea of doing this regularly again. Theoretically it should get better as I go along.

December, 2010: I think I was in a state of shock when I reached Arizona. I had been on the road for two months, all of my belongings given away or in storage, all of my goodbyes said. In those two months, there had been a residency to plan an exhibit at Mass Audubon, a bird festival in south Texas and a family visit in central Texas, followed with an amazing introduction to New Mexico by someone I now call a lifelong friend. In December, though, as I drove into Arizona, all planning or scheduling ceased, and my life eased into one of semi concrete goals and vaguer ideas. By this I mean that I wanted to look for sparrows. For the month of December, but also for the rest of my life. I won’t go into the underlying panic that this entailed.

Patagonia, AZ

The avian jewels of the Arizona spring and summer were long gone, desirable birds all of them and some not found anywhere else in the United States, but those were the birds of years past. My years of twitchiness and multiple visits and efficient itineraries and checklists and always with the counting and the ticking and the collecting – well, those were something else. I wanted something different.

Lark Sparrows

Sparrows are the perfect bird when you are poor, or depressed, or both. They don’t require extensive or expensive travel plans. All you need is a little suitable habitat and your bins. There is nothing sexy in looking for drab little brown birds, it is a challenge with only humble rewards. No glory, no fame, no economic gain. Hidden treasures. Perfect.

8 Responses to “Arizona. A brief intro, of sorts.”

  1. I love reading this. I miss you, and it is good to “hear” your voice again.

  2. I hear you and I understand….
    and I wish I could capture the sparrows the way you do……………

  3. [...] Illustrator Catherine Hamilton is back at her Birdspot blog and that’s great news for fans of her art. She introduces a recent trip to Arizona: [...]

  4. “Sparrows are the perfect bird when you are poor, or depressed, or both” is one of the finest lines of nature writing I’ve read. It brought up poignant memories of when I first learned sparrows, many years ago, outside Reno.

  5. Catherine, I think of you so often as I
    Ook at all of your wonderful painting hanging in my home. They give me such comfort taking me to far away dreams. So glad you are doing well but of course so wish you were still painting. You will always be my favorite artist! If you ever do a red wing hawk drawing that you are willing to part with please let me know. I am in love with hawks and my my favorite…RW who lives at Pawtucket Country Club. Keep well my friend.

  6. Hi Catherine,

    Glad to hear you are out in field…….following your passion….God’s
    little creatures!! I love the delicate gestures….colorful markings..of your precious
    Sparrows!!….Also the delightful free- flying studies!
    There’s nothing like being out doors….and enjoying the light of
    day and surprise encounters……pure freedom!
    You are an inspiration, Catherine! I think of you and your beautiful illustrations when I walk the beaches
    and wildlife areas of southern rhode island..especially, the Piping plover season!

  7. I am dying to know what’s in your kit… ie watercolor paints and pigments, brushes! Your work is fantastic!

  8. Thank you Sarah! I’m glad you found me through social media channels, since obviously I’m neglecting this site terribly. Happy New Year!

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