Collecting Data in Cedar Key I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am working on a piece of art involving the Florida Scrub Jay. For me, the process of art making follows a method that is not dissimilar to the scientific method. I set a problem – in this case “Where have all the scrub-jays gone that lived in the Cedar Key State Reserve in 2004?”. Then, I begin to collect data and make careful observations. These observations may include journey daybook pages that are related to the problem. The remainder of my process includes attempting to draw conclusions as I attempt to solve the problem. The piece of art that I make may develop anywhere along this chain of steps. I never know when inspiration will occur or how my art will develop: this is the Great Surprise! For now, I am very early in the data collection phase.

But, last Friday afternoon, I had a huge gift – the first sighting of a scrub-jay in Cedar Key along the county road that passes through the state land! This bird, easy to recognize and identify, was siting on a power line. I pulled my car off the road and made the attached page. I photographed the bird with my cell phone and marked the spot on my map so that the sighting could be documented in the Scrub Jay Watch.MPH.SJ.12.4.17 My present plan is to return to the same spot both early and late in the day looking for more birds of this colony. Yesterday morning’s trip yielded no “real” birds – just an image of the scrub and more observations. I never know what I will see: this is the mystery and the fun of the process. (Click on the page to enlarge and read.)

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