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drawing: blue jay

April 15, 2017

blue_jay_by_al_lau

The Blue Jay is a clever North American bird. Although the population of Blue Jays in the eastern US declined after industrialization, they eventually adapted and learned to survive in urban environments. They even expanded their range throughout the midwest. Without even seeing a Blue Jay, their loud squawking is recognizable. Blue Jays are omnivorous, mostly consisting of nuts, seeds and fruit in their diet, they also can eat insects and sometimes rodents.

My birdfeeders are not big enough for the Blue Jay, but sometimes they make a cameo appearance. When they do, it is treat to see them.

Happy Easter and Happy Passover all !

trout_watercolor_by_al_lau

Rainbow trout were originally abundant only in North American rivers, then they were introduced to other waters around the world due to its delicious taste and challenge as a fighting game fish. Rainbow trout are generally a smaller cousin to the Salmon fish. They thrive in cold clear water. When you see the presence of trout in a river by you, it is a good indicator that the river is healthy, clean and pristine.

My rainbow trout illustration is done in watercolor.

illustration: clams

January 13, 2017

clams_by_al_lau

The earliest clams first appeared 500 million years ago. Clams are a bi-valve mollusk. Unlike oysters and mussels which need to be anchored to rocks in order to survive, clams burrow themselves within the sandy bottom of the ocean floor.

Although clams may look uninspiring, they play an important part to healthy coastal waters because of their role in filter feeding.

I am experimenting with a new type of art pen which gives me a finer line. It reminds me of when I used Repidograph pens in school. Drawing clams formations is a good exercise for me to study contours and detail. So with my clam sketches, less is more.

illustration: white oak

November 12, 2016

white_oak_tree_leaf_by_al_lau

White Oak hardwood trees grow throughout the central and east part of North America, ranging from Texas up to Maine, also reaching up to Canada. They are described as white oak due to their bark being white-ish, in comparison to their oak cousins. Its acorn nuts provide an important food source for deer, squirrels, blue jays and turkey. A distinct identifier of the white oak is its leaf shape which has seven to nine rounded lobes.

drawing: the oak tree

October 22, 2016

oak_tree_600yr_by_al_lau

Long before Henry the VIII was the King of England and long before Leonardo da Vinci painted his famous painting Mona Lisa, an oak tree began its life, 600-years ago. Generations of American Indians enjoyed the shade underneath its long branches. Even George Washington was here, during the revolutionary war.

Sadly, now, the old oak tree is dying. It is showing its age. There are steel props and support wires applied by caring people, desperately holding up its heavy branches.

The New Jersey town is understandably distraught. It is like a family member is going away and so is piece of history.

I visit the gentle giant to witness its grandeur which still stands next to a church in Basking Ridge, NJ. I am so glad I did. In own my way, I honor the amazing tree by doing a little sketch.

salmon_life_F_by_al_lau

After a full life of many challenges, Salmon successfully returns home, back upriver where he was born.

Happy Earth Day!

Have you hugged a salmon today?

salmon_life_E_by_al_lau
Our salmon has another near brush with danger.
Will he make it to his destination?

I wasn’t sure whether to include this moment in Salmon’s life, but I wanted to be as candid as possible. Sorry. I don’t want to be a downer. I just want to share awareness and the importance of sustainablility on our precious planet. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a very good chart, detailing which kinds of fish are threatened and which fish are okay to harvest.

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