Sunday, October 6, 2013

BLOGTOBERFEST13 (Day 6): Talking to the babies

THE EYE OF THE AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER. Parent American oystercatchers do more than "watch" and "sit" on their eggs. They communicate with their egg babies vocally. (Art by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for art and science! Hallelujah for time to think about scientific ideas given to me by my collaborator, Jen Hilburn, ornithologist on St. Catherines Island, Georgia.

How curious it is that the parent American oystercatchers talk to their egg babies. Jen told me that the babies are already getting familiarized with their parents' voices and will be able to recognize their calls once they hatch.
"Wheeeeep....wheep" (Art by Hallelujah Truth)
These images are yet unpainted. Instead of taking the time to paint an image, I wanted to think about the images in a graphic novel sort of way. This is a first for me, and I am not certain how to make a series of images to depict movement.
So I figured that I would draw one adult American oystercatcher deciding it was time to chat with her or his egg babies. Then as if I were using a zoom lens camera, I would tighten in on the eye and beak of the adult and one of the egg babies.
HOW TO DEPICT Wheeeeep....wheep"? Do I write the words on the image? Do I use illustrator to merge text and image? I don't know. Do you? (Art by Hallelujah Truth)
By the way, the plant that you see depicted in these images is salicornia, a plant that grows in abundance in the marsh where this particular American oystercatcher nest is located. The eggs were laid in what is called a "scrape" nest

A scrape nest is just a small divet in the ground that the parents have made in amongst the salicornia. The eggs are quite vulnerable to predators, careless or unaware humans, and sea level rise.

I don't know if these images will get painted or not. They may just be studies. I have already started drawing the egg and made a few attempts at making images of a baby American oystercatcher breaking out of the shell. I need a few more images of what is actually happening inside the egg, so I must return to the internet for additional images.

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me and tell me what you think of my idea about telling the story of the American oystercatcher's life-cycle using some graphic novel techinques. Tell me what you are working on currently in you creative life.


  1. I love that they communicate with their babies while they are in their eggs!!! You amaze me, Ruth, with the details in your drawings and how prolific you are...thank you for sharing your creative journey with us!

  2. Christine! You think my drawings have details? I always feel that they aren't I'm grappling with trying to establish a style...but what is my style? So glad we have these exchanges; otherwise, I would be working in a lot of isolation.

  3. Ruth I love your images and the story of communication between the oystercatcher and their unborn babies. Your style is your unique way of handling line, shape and color. You definitely have one!

  4. Oh my oh my...your images, thoughts, and processes are fabulous. Yes, the photo I sent you is amongst the Salicornia, although thats rare. Our child comes from a lineage of rare individuals. Generally though, its not within a meter square of vegetation.
    Halleluja for your experience, sharing it with other species, and rare individuals! Halleluja for your effort, study and production!!
    Hugs parent