The return of spring & blue jays

Our mountain areas are filled with members of the corvid family: ravens, crows, magpies, nutcrackers and of course, the jays.  The ravens and crows make themselves known year round here, and rarely a day goes by without seeing several.

LINDA COTE-blue jay in grassBut the jays are a little more elusive during winter. I did see (and hear) Clark’s Nutcrackers throughout the winter, but it’s rare to see or hear one of the most showy of the jays: the blue jay.

When I researched whether the blue jay migrates from our Western Canadian location, I learned: yes and no. Sometimes they migrate south, but the next year finds them staying put. There is no definite pattern, and some think their migratory behavior is tied to weather or food scarcity. Overall, it remains a bit of a mystery.

LINDA COTE-bluejayI know, though, that I tend to always spot this bird in the summer. I’ve yet to get a really good out-in-the-open photo of one. Mostly they are in the trees or tall grass.

I recently decided to create a handmade reduction linocut print of a blue jay. I had played with the idea of making the blue jay one of my “little bird‘ series that features many of the birds I create. But I just couldn’t make a print of a blue jay without including the absolutely brilliant blue of their feathers.

So, here — told in a series of three videos — is the creation of my blue jay print, from inception to completion.

A copy of the final print is posted below the videos. Enjoy!

LINDA COTE-Blue Jay's Perch

‘Blue Jay’s Perch’ Limited Edition Handmade Reduction Linocut print. 6.75″ high x 9.5″ wide


7 responses to “The return of spring & blue jays

  1. It is amazing. Do you ever spend hours and hours and in a final stage make a critical wrong cut and find the print useless or is there always some forgiveness in the method? It does seem so controlled but I think you have to have a very visual mind for this kind of art…along with the artistic perception itself.

    • Reduction prints are SO nerve-wracking for that very reason…once you are so far in, a mistake can make the print take a very wrong turn! It is not very forgiving creating this way, but I have had some practice, so it doesn’t make me as nervous as it once did! Sometimes you just have to go for it. I figure a mistake will teach me something, too! Thanks for reading the blog, Judy!

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