I was ask once on a webinar how long did it take to do a pen and ink. I wasn’t sure. I rarely take time to complete a piece in one sitting. The process for me is usually broken down into segments done when I have time to draw. This time I wrote down my time as I completed different segments. Here’s how it broke out.
The final time was 6 hours and 15 minutes. It was done over approximately 10 sessions averaging 37 minutes each. I drew during lunch breaks, while waiting a doctor appointments, sitting at road construction and in the evening at home. It was not efficient and I probably could have done it in 4 hours without interuption. I draw when I can.
Douglas Squirrels, (Tamiasciurus douglasii) are small squirrels. They’re smaller than gray squirrels and larger than chipmunks. John Muir described them thus, “He is, without exception, the wildest animal I ever saw,—a fiery, sputtering little bolt of life, luxuriating in quick oxygen and the woods’ best juices.” I think of them as the security alarm of the forest. When one is disturbed it sounds it’s loud chirping alarm and it doesn’t care whether it’s alarming on a person, deer or bear. Once they start, they won’t stop until you leave.
I’ve barely posted the last few years because my computer had become quite geriatric. Most of my posts the last couple of years were from my iPad. The mobile app just doesn’t have all the bells and whistle that the PC has. Now I have a new laptop and it’s time to get more active again. This year has been particularly challenging, but I think getting back to art will be very cathardic.
Traditionally, I haven’t been very good a promoting my art or books. I’m going to try to change that, so here is a link to m Fine Art America site. Please check it out.
On a side note, while I was in Arcata I went into a local restuarant for a cup of coffee. When I came out there was a murder of crows on my truck. They finally left when I went to got in it. Then a seagull landed on it. I had to look around for Alfred Hitchcock! I thought I was in the movie Birds. Although, the only attack was when the crows pooped all over my truck!
We walked down a washed out road until we stood on a landing. Mary and I watched the light fade from the sky. Perched in a black oak tree, another hunter joined us. It was a solitary great horned owl beginning it’s evening hunt.
This is a true story of an encounter I had with a bear one day. Written and illustrated by Tim Livingston.
The deep impressions in the skid trail were unmistakably that of a large black bear. He had walked this trail so many times that his footsteps had created permanent depressions in the earth. Bears often walk in their same footsteps on their favorite paths. It’s quieter that way. A quiet bear is a well fed bear. This trail hadn’t been used for skidding logs for forty or fifty years judging by the trees growing there. The Bear owned the trail now.
I came up the trail for the same reason as the bear. I too was hunting. I carried my bow with an arrow nocked at the ready. Trying to be as silent as I could, I stepped where the bear stepped. It was so dry in the August woods that everything cracked and snapped under my feet. I moved along the edge of a steep ravine. Pausing every few steps to listen to the sounds of the forest. Suddenly, crashing sounded through the brush, and then a loud whooshing huff came from across the ravine. There was another huff and then another. I’d been made. It was the alarm sound of three black-tail deer. Deer were what I came for, but my element of surprise was lost. I couldn’t see any of them through the dense forest of Douglas-fir, pine and oak. I hoped they might move into an opening so I could. I sat down on the edge of the trail to quietly wait for things to settle down.
The huffing gradually subsided. The group of deer moved off never once revealing themselves to me. I waited a few more minutes hoping for a straggler. Then another huff sounded far up the draw. It seemed odd that this new deer would have detected me at that distance. The huff was followed by more huffing along with crashing in the brush. The crashing didn’t seem like deer. Quickly and quietly, I got to my feet and looked up toward the sound. Soon, a black bear foraging down the ravine came into view. I could tell by its size it was a big boar.
I couldn’t legally hunt this bear because my bear tag had been filled a week before. I didn’t want him to know I was here. His reaction would alert other deer in the area to my presence. Searching around, there was no way out of the ravine that wouldn’t attract the bear’s attention. Climbing the steep slopes through the leaves and duff would have been very noisy. I waited hoping he might go off on another trail, but he didn’t. He kept coming. I was downwind so he couldn’t smell me. Finally, when our encounter was inevitable, I had to alert the bear to my presence. I picked up a baseball sized rock and hurled it yelling, “Get outta here bear!” My throw missed, and the bear froze in his tracks about fifteen yards away.
When most black bears encounter people they run away fast, but boars in August are different. They are the most dangerous. They’re famished and will attack people, especially in the back country. This one sized me up trying to decide if I was on his menu. He didn’t know what to make of me dressed in camouflage and full face paint. I kept yelling at the bear. Telling him to leave, threatening him and even cussing his mother failed to move him along. The bear tipped his head back and with lips curled out, tried to find my scent on the breeze. Fortunately, the wind was in my favor. The bear was uncertain. Seconds ticked by and then minutes, but the bear wouldn’t budge. I moved slowly to my right past some tree branches. Now I had a clear shot at him. I knew at this range I wouldn’t miss him, but he could easily reach me before I could nock the next arrow. At that moment my arrow just seemed like a pointy little stick. I didn’t dare turn my back.
I was down to one last desperate bluff to convince the bear to leave. I raised my bow up as high as I could without taking my finger off the trigger. Then with a guttural yell I lunged toward him. Mama bears often bluff charge people or other bears to make them back off. Any bear should instinctively understand. He didn’t move. I repeated the lunge. Again, the bear didn’t move. He didn’t even twitch. We were now only ten yards apart. What had seemed like an okay idea at the time was suddenly feeling like a really dumb idea. Drawing my bow for what was to come next, I was ready to fire if he took one step in my direction. The seconds slowly ticked by as we stared each other down. Abruptly, the bear turned and bolted up slope away from me. Then, just as quickly turned back around and sat down. We were now at the more comfortable distance of thirty yards apart and still staring each other down.
Taking a chance, I laid my bow on the ground with the arrow still knocked. Then, slipping the pack off my back, I pulled out my camera. My eyes never left the bear. I took pictures until he moved. The bear circled to my right behind the cover of some bushes, but kept his distance. I had pushed my luck, so I stowed the camera and put my pack back on.
The bear was now sitting on a small ridge above me and I had to pass right below him to go on my way. I faced him as I moved slowly past with my bow at the ready. Immediately ahead was another ravine. It was small but deep. I kept looking back to see if the bear had moved. He had not. As I was trying to sort out how to cross the ravine with a big black bear looking down on me, there was loud crashing. I wheeled around to find the bear was gone. He had run down the other side of the ridge.
Seizing the moment, I scrambled through the ravine and quickly moved along the trail. After a short distance I stopped to listen. I could hear the bear on the slope below. He had finally gotten downwind to scent me. I wondered if he would follow now that he knew what he was following. As I went on my way, I stopped to listen every so often. My hunting partner was waiting for me down the trail and she had a bear tag. If the bear followed it would be at his own peril. I would lead the bear to her.
Every little noise after that seemed like it could be the bear, but I never saw him again that day. In seasons to come I’ll return to those mountains and probably to that same ravine. The bear will likely still be around and I may see him again. Hopefully next time he’ll be the hunted.
I drew this pen and ink while Mary and I were sitting in a ground hunting blind two deer seasons ago. It’s of a female downy woodpecker that I photographed earlier that season. I took it when we were in another blind. If you consider that I completed the drawing while waiting for deer you can probably deduce that no deer were harmed during the drawing of that picture. We always do most of our shooting with a camera.
This hunting season has been postponed for us. The Carr Fire has resulted in the area we hunt being closed due to the fire danger. So we wait. I prepared this post months ago and this seems like a good time to post it. There are a couple pictures of some of the game we harvested, but mostly it’s images from our season.
When we hunt big game we immerse ourselves into the experience, always. We don’t just experience nature we participate in it. We hunt to for food. Each meal we prepare we reminisce over our experience and appreciate where that food came from. We observe things that time of year we don’t always see the same way during the rest of the year. As a result we take a lot of pictures. This gallery is a small sample of the sights and sounds we enjoy each season.
Our bow hunting season started mid August and rifle season ended in late October. It was grueling and difficult hunting in rugged country. The weather was hot much of the time and we had to contend with constant smoke from the wildfires during bow season. We cover a lot of ground on foot and spent hours in ground blinds. One of the benefits is we never know what might show up near our blinds. The cameras are always handy.
Phanny joined us for some pre-season scouting.
A painted lady landed on my arrow tip while we sat in the hunting blind.
The fence lizards cruise our hunting blinds searching for ants.
A Pacific fisher unknowingly visited us.
The fisher investigates our wildlife camera. Come on little buddy just a little farther. Darn, we didn’t get his picture.
The gray squirrels didn’t detect us most of the time, but when they did we heard all about it.
Yellow jackets and hornets are always a risk in the woods. This bald-faced hornet isn’t to be trifled with.
Tiny birds like this brown creeper were around nearly all the time.
Fungus growing on a black oak snag.
Big ferns grow in the stream zones.
Butterflies would land on us while we sat in our blind. They were drinking sweat from our skin.
Canyon live oak
A steller’s jay in for a drink.
Smoke was a constant nuisance in the early season.
This acorn woodpecker was panting because is was so hot.
You can’t beat the view when the smoke is gone.
Sugar pine cones
A doe in my bow sites. We don’t take does in California.
Doe close up.
A California Sisters butterfly.
This bigleaf maple is just beginning to change.
A large black bear cruises through.
Tanoak acorns blanket the road. Acorns are a very important food source for all manner of wildlife.
A bigleaf maple leaf gets more yellow. They are our reminder of the seasons passing.
My hunting partner.
The steller’s jays were like little bits of sky.
The red tail hawks were always cruising about. We weren’t the only hunters out there.
It’s rugged country. We work hard for everything we get.
Big sugar pine.
Our camp is a swarming ground for the local ladybugs. Did you know that ladybugs bite!
I was watching a bear down in the thicket of live oak trees.
Old growth sugar pine.
Fall color from the black oaks and bigleaf maples.
A golden bigleaf maple leaf has seen better days.
Calk boots in an oak tree?
Those are timber faller’s boots. There is a story wanting to be told here.
An early snow warns us that the season is winding down.
Leaves changing one at a time.
If you wait long enough someone’s trash becomes an artifact.
Mary worked hard for this fine buck. It was harvested on a high remote ridge. We had a long steep pack out.
A view from one of our blinds.
I love the change of the season.
Fall color and snow.
What a view!
The dogs love to investigate our bounty when we get home.
“I see you!”
No the camera isn’t tilted. We hunt some steep country.
Friday night, we had an evening woods walk with few puppy families. Saturday was go home day for Bliss and Sailor’s 8-week-old puppies. The rattlesnake didn’t alert with a rattle. The puppy didn’t cry. No one knew anything had happened until symptoms set in. Our first thought upon discovering a pup with a swollen face was […]