“Pre-Fledge Flight Check” is a new painting of one of my favorite eaglets, Simba. He fledged on July 23rd, after weeks of wing flapping and hopping madly around the nest in order to to build his flying muscles. He’s about to fledge here, hence the “pre-flight check”.
Every morning throughout high school, Cary and I arrived just before eight a.m. in the band room. We became close friends in no time. We were in all the bands together. We practiced marching routines in a muddy football field. We wore suits and ties to perform in the symphonic band. In the pep band we played at every football and basketball game (except the night I called the coach a… well, never mind that). And in the Swing Band we played at dances. He played alto sax, I played tenor, and we both had Selmer Mark VIs. We were both in the pit orchestra for the school stage productions and both of us composed original tunes and scored them for our senior play. And we played for graduating seniors more than once, till finally others played “Pomp and Circumstance” for us. Half a century later, after Vietnam, the Air Force, careers, and raising families a thousand miles apart, Cary and I reconnected. And it’s if no more time has passed than it took us to walk from the band room to 2nd period.
A young eagle learning about flying—he couldn’t fly when I drew this, but he was learning a few wing skills, and strengthening his muscles for the big day. High winds helped him learn to balance by using his wings. He came into the world with a sibling who perished due to a late snow and freezing temperatures, though the mother did her best to keep them warm. This one continued on alone, growing and learning day by day. He won’t be mature for another four years, but first things first—he needs to survive the high mortality rate of an eagle’s first year. He fledged this past week, but returns to the nest for food and sleeps there with a parent.
“Eagles and Eaglets” After watching this unusual family of eagles raise three newborns to fledglings this spring, in spite of the loss and hardships they’ve endured over the years, I decided to commit an act of art in their honor. Here they all are, three parents and three eaglets.
“Hippies” A lifetime ago. Coming up on my 50th wedding anniversary (marriage didn’t survive all those 50 years, but the anniversary continues unabated). Around 1972, shortly after we were married, I did a painting of us–a little dramatic, but, hey, I liked it. About 30 years ago there wasn’t room enough to hang onto everything, so some paintings went to a landfill. That was the end of that painting.
Recently, I came across a tiny, blurred photo of it in the background of a family photo, and decided to paint it again, guided by that smudge of an image.