The Creation of "Two Birds Meeting in the Night"

One of my earliest large drawings and I think possibly the first one that I used color on was "Two Birds Passing in the Night." It depicts two birds against a black background with little white stars, their bodies are separated by a small mountain, but they have a red string of fate connecting them even as they stare away from each other. At the time of creation, I was feeling rather romantically lonely and I wondered if there really was anyone out in the world for me. I drew "Two Birds Passing in the Night" with the hope that there was, and I just couldn't see who they were yet.


I also drew it as a scene from one of my all time favorite memories. In 2013 I traveled to Japan for the second time, and during that trip I visited Nagano prefecture where I stayed at a hostel in Hakuba, Japan. Hakuba is in the Japanese Alps and even though it's rather south still, it gets a lot of snow during the winter. When I arrived in January there was about 3 feet of beautiful pure white snow blanketing all the little homes, stores, rice fields, and mountain forests. It was cold and the air was thick with the special kind of soft silence that only a snowy landscape produces. 

One night in Hakuba, I went to a local hot spring down the road from my hostel. There I was lucky enough to find that they also had an outdoor hot spring area. It was rather late at night and so for most of my time there I was the only person in the outdoor bath. While soaking in the hot water I filled my lungs with the chilly air and watched the steam rise into the sky in lazy billows, obscuring the bright countryside stars. 

There's not many times in life when we really focus on relaxing and letting go of all our worries. At the time of this trip I was still studying at Mount Holyoke College and was very stressed about virtually everything. There wasn't really anything I couldn't find to be stressed about. But this one night in Japan was the greatest break I could have from that stress. In the hot water, surrounded by rocks, snow, and steam, my worries didn't matter. 

So later in 2016, when I was stressed about other things and worried about never finding someone that I would love and who would love me back, I created "Two Birds Passing in the Night" using my memory of a time when I felt extremely relaxed as a backdrop for the scene. Even now when I look at it, I still feel the warm steam and winter air on my face and hear the snowy silence. This is a piece that depicts a relaxed confidence in the unknown future, not the anxious worry that I felt.

Fast forward to December 2017 when finally I met someone amazing and wonderful. We started officially dating in January and as part of wanting to celebrate her for Valentine's Day, I drew "Two Birds Meeting in the Night" where the two birds from the scene in "Two Birds Passing in the Night" have finally found each other.


I used three different inks to create each of these pictures. In "Passing," I used Parker Qink Black Ink, J. Herbin's Rouge Hematite, and J. Herbin's Emerald of Chivor on Rhodia paper using my Lamy Safari with an F nib. In "Meeting" I used Sailor Kiwa-Guro, J. Herbin's Rouge Hematite, and Bung Box First Love Sapphire on Borden & Riley Paris Paper for Pens using multiple pens and nibs.

I had gotten First Love Sapphire a long time ago in a bunch of sample inks, but I really wanted to use it on a very meaningful picture and just never had that opportunity until now. It is a gorgeous stunning bright blue with a gradient that gives it depth like a Sapphire. It is lovely and sincere.


I almost used another Bung Box color for the red since I do have a sample of Lycoris Red, but the symbolism of Lycoris is very bad there for what I was drawing. And since the red just wasn't the exact bold shade that I was looking for, I ended up back with J. Herbin's Rouge Hematite which contains extra passion in that it is sparkly! 

In the original "Passing" I cut my drawing out from the Rhodia paper and placed it on top of some archival black paper. In "Meeting" I decided to experiment with drawing in by hand the entire black background instead, similar to what I did on a much smaller scale in "Wilting is Inevitable." To avoid big obvious blocks, I just created small lines of black that radiated out from the central image. This also added the effect of adding more movement to the image, like ripples. To change the imagery from winter to spring, I also used various forms of flowers as stars instead of just little dots which could be co-interpreted as snowflakes. 


Whatever the future holds for us, I am extremely happy to have found my love and had a reason to create "Two Birds Meeting in the Night." And while I'm happy to find the confidently hopeful "Two Birds Passing in the Night" a new home, I will not be selling "Two Birds Meeting in the Night."