My dad delights in sharing stories of adventure. He finds the most unusual and intriguing characters near the edges of life most of us don't get a chance to see.
Something about his life of travels and working the land makes him wake up daily and say, "It's a good day to be alive."
When I'm sad, he tells me, "Go touch a tree, and I'll do the same." Somehow it turns blah into hope and brings me a smile.
Last year, he called and said he had befriended the youngest Falconer in West Virginia. When you visit my parents' shop in the town Davis, I encourage you to meet this young man, Collin Waybright of Laurel Fork Falconry. I had to see his farm for myself and so last summer, I made the trip and had an absolutely peak bird experience!
While Collin shared his extraordinary knowledge of raptors and the area, I began to sink deeper into the soul of these creatures and capture what essence I could in my drawings.
Collin brought out three of his birds for a private sketching session. Live, real, fierce but friendly, they posed for me as I painted. I must have observed these fantastic creatures for hours upon hours.
Sometimes I dream of being a National Geographic explorer. Until then, I will help art lovers sink into nature by "going deep" into adventures of my own. This is where new relationships with talented specialists, the animals, and yourself begins. Thanks for finding this one, dad!
If you are in the area, I encourage you to contact Collin and his family. Go on a raptor hunt, learn more about these creatures and experience this special place. Let me know if you visit--I'd love to hear about your adventure!
Connecting with Colin came just after an exciting opportunity came to me. I began a collaboration with Draw Everywhere where I celebrate raptors, song birds, and the flora of the Smokey Mountains region in an ambitious painting for Google Quantum AI that I cannot wait to share with you soon. I've probably already said too much! (Don't tell Google!)
Pssst: Visit the studio this weekend to get a sneak peak!