Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Sketching the Pandemic Year 2020 Week 20

Sketching the Pandemic Year 2020 Week 20 May 10-16 

In Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s Womanology 12 - the photograph for May 10-16 in the Smithsonian Engagement Calendar 2020, a woman is looking through a binoculars. During the sheltering at home days, I have spent countless hours everyday watching birds in the backyard with my Binoculars. Many different kinds of birds visit our backyard throughout the year, species varying with the season.  But then I also use my Binoculars to check on the blueberry bushes from my kitchen window especially when I happen upon few cardinals or other birds lingering near the patch. The birds don’t leave us many berries but I love watching them feast on fruits! There were even a few parasol mushrooms near the bushes that I was able to see clearly with my trusty binoculars.  


Saturday, June 5, 2021

Sketching the Pandemic Year 2020 Week19

Sketching the Pandemic Year 2020 Week 19  May3-9

We adapted to staying home and mostly making use of online grocery shopping with home delivery. One place we made periodic trips  to was  “Trader  Joe’s”.  Their adherence to health safety measures eased my anxiety a bit about going to the grocery store.  Almost two months into the initial lockdown, for the first time I stood in line socially distanced and masked, waiting for my turn to enter the store. The shadows caught my eye and I quickly sketched the scene not knowing how long this routine was to last ! 

And the sketch ended up in the same week as the photo of the poster by Larry Yangzhou  ‘Casina Jaiteca from the National  Chicano Dcreenprint Taller’ in the Smithsonian Engagement Calendar 2020.  There is a clever word play in the title. : “while casino is Spanish for kitchen, ‘jaiteca’  a neologism pronounced as’high-tech-a’  playfully highlighting the decidedly non high tech kitchen in the picture.” 

Shoppers in Shadow ink and watercolor by Meera Rao 


Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Sketching the Pandemic Year 2020 Week 18


Sketching the Pandemic Year 2020 April26-May2 Week 18

Staying home during the pandemic, I spent many hours watching  high flying, cruising birds. Mostly I resorted to hoping and waiting for them to get closer and  within the binoculars view.  We live close to an Air Force Base. So I am aware of ‘GIS’  short for ‘General Information and shape’ - fighter pilots’ and airplane enthusiasts’ way of spotting and identifying planes by their silhouettes, sizes, shapes, etc rather than insignia. On a whim, wondering if such a system existed for birds, I decided to google flying wing shape silhouettes for hawks and raptors. I had seen Osprey, Bald eagle, Black and turkey Vultures as well as  different sea gulls in the skies around our yard and in the neighborhood but never could tell them apart way up high! Knowing the silhouettes and shapes really helped. I have not come across any Red tailed hawks or Northern Harriers around here but I am a little better at identifying Osprey, Bald Eagle and vultures :)

The bronze and gilded Chariot shaft ornament in the form of the dragon head pictured on the Engagement Calendar 2020 is from c.400-300 BCE Late Eastern  Zhou Dynasty in China.  It was found at a royal burial ground. I wonder if the dragons ferrying the dead royals on their journey to the other world encounter any of these majestic raptors ! 

Raptor Silhouettes ink by Meera Rao 

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