Drawing: Grandad and Red-tailed Hawk

I'm posting this drawing for my family and friends who will recognize the original photo it's based on, but I think the story is pretty cool too.

Strangest thing. Normally I can't draw worth a darn. I look at a picture of something and I try to capture it visually and nothing goes quite right. Last night, after watching a Bill Reid documentary and visiting the Museum of Anthropology at UBC, I felt inspired to try my hand at drawing a design for a carving I've been thinking about for a big piece of cedar I found over New Years (I'm just starting to try my hand at wood carving).

After visiting the museum and hanging out on the beach, I was really fixated on the idea of art that facilitates oneness or seamlessness with nature (it was more of a feeling than something easily described), and so I thought about making a sitting bench carved like the wing of a red-tailed hawk (one of my favourite birds). Red tail hawk drawing.

I started by looking at photos of red-tailed hawks on the internet and trying to draw their wingspans - nothing, everything looked pretty awful. That's when I decided I just needed to sit down and practice drawing (a prerequisite for carving), so I spontaneously grabbed an old black and white photo of my grandad with his red-tailed hawk (he used to run a wildlife museum/zoo) and I started sketching, but this time I just looked at the photo, not at the paper, and let my hand go...and this is what came out. I was pleasantly surprised!

I think drawing is something I'm going to spend a bit more time playing with. I find it really relaxing and in keeping with the spirit of a recent article I read in the New York Times on the idea of an ecological unconscious, a good way to "rewild" the psyche.