I got more than I expected out of PFW: Sketch and like many of you, I am not quite ready for it to be over. But before I go any further I would like to say "thank you" to all the participants of PFW: Sketch, this is such a wonderful community of intelligent, passionated, talented and supportive people. It has been a pleasure drawing and conversing with you over the past eight weeks. It could not have happened without your efforts, energy, and as Beck mentioned, your willingness to take a few risks. So thank you.
I realized what PFW: Sketch meant to me when I was on vacation in Costa Rica. Before leaving I challenged myself to draw unknown birds with the intention of having participants help me identify them when I returned. This assignment of observing and capturing the size, shape, proportion, angles, and colors of tropical birds made me feel like I had an important mission. I did not want to "fail" or "let the participants down" by not recording accurate or enough information to identify the birds I saw. When I posted the drawings on the forum, I was surprised to learn that no one who responded had much experience or expertise with Costa Rican birds either. Using a web resource hazelrunmama posted, along with my sketches, notes and memory, I identified some of the birds myself. My vacation in Costa Rica was a more meaningful experience because I was absorbed in finding birds to observe and capture with pencil and paper.
The sketch of the Great Curassows is the one I am most proud of. When I saw them on the rainforest floor I felt a mix of awe, excitement and anxiety. They were so strange looking, so large, so distinct, and I was worried I would not be able to sketch them before they flew or ran away. As it turned out, they stayed long enough so that I felt pleased with the amount of information (both drawings and notes) I was able to gather before they departed. It was a wonderful experience and I was excited to share the drawing and story with PFW:Sketch participants. I can imagine this is similar to the way glecker felt when he photographed the Raven in the Pacific Northwest.
Before this project I never would have said I had any real interest in birds and any desire to sketch on a regular basis. After PFW:Sketch I now see birds everywhere (they really are everywhere, you know!?) Also, drawing has become something I now enjoy doing and like leinawea noted, a meditative way to pass time in meetings.
This summer phyllisiroot and I have already agreed to do drawings and watercolors of the wildflowers of Minnesota, somewhat similar to lyn's sketchbook project. I am looking forward to using drawing as a way to "really see wildflowers," with the enthusiasm and interest that I now have for birds. I hope you all keep drawing and sharing, too.
p.s. Hutchgigi and aallan, reading your posts made me smile on a regular basis. :)