Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Cover of Coots

One of my New Year's Goals was to work on developing a portfolio of Central NY/Finger Lakes wildlife and landscape art. My cottontail woodcut bombed (although I AM going to try it again... third time's a charm, right?), but my Heiberg Forest woodcut came out better than I expected. After seeing mysterious black ducks with white beaks at MNWR this month, I decided to do a woodcut of them. Thanks to Amie and Christa, I found out they were not Scoters but AMERICAN COOTS. And Coots are not ducks, but a member of the Rail family. A group of Coots is called a "cover", not a flock. And they are nicknamed "Mud Hens" - when I was little and my family used to go watch the Syracuse Chiefs play baseball, there was another team called the "Mud Hens" although I don't remember where they were from- were they named after coots?? Is this where the saying "an ol' coot" came from?? And is Wikipedia right, in that American Coot fossils trace back to the Pleistocene era???

Anyway, I am going to do a woodcut of the American Coots I saw at the Refuge... this is the sketch. I've already drew it onto a block (10 x 5"- never worked that format before) and sprayed it with fixative. Lunch break is good for something, eh? Of course, now I stink like Fixative and I'm sure all my coworkers will appreciate me in our departmental meeting this afternoon, stanking up the conference room! Oye.


P.S.- I'm very proud of all the links I put into this post LOL.

1 comment:

Joan said...

Hi Jen,
As an artist with two hounds of a different variety (bassets) I was happy to come across your blog. Even though I'm not much of a sports fan, being from Ohio I recognize the Mud Hens as being the minor league team from Toledo -and I do think they are named for coots. I'm looking forward to seeing your finished woodcut.