Fill your page with the smallest detail.

A couple of blue gray tanagers on a rooftop, Colombia, 2020
Blue gray tanagers in the rain, brush pen drawing on paper, 2021

“It’s just a couple of blue gray tanagers and the light is dull”. The sky had opened, and instead of a morning birdwatching walk we were stuck in our sheltered wood structure balcony listening to the sound of heavy rain.

I insisted “but those tiles, glossy from the rain, with such a warm contrast to the birds, and the rain curtain. I’m sure you can make a great photo from this moment”.

Have you ever had that moment when you dismiss the beauty of a small, common detail? In Colombia, the blue gray tanager is a fairly common bird and we had plenty of shots already by the time we saw this couple in Hacienda Bambusa. The scene seemed mundane and the light dull, but if this shot wasn’t in my archive I wouldn’t have created one of my favorite bird paintings of the year so far on my sketchbook.

At home, a few days ago I zoomed in on the photo to find all the lovely details of the wet feathers, that expectant look, and even the tiny drop of water hanging from bill of the bird in the back. That’s when I decided to make my birds so large they went partially off page, to showcase all that beauty.

This week take another look at the most common object or scene around you. What beauty, what details do you find? Let them fill your eyes and your journal pages! Stay home, stay safe, and wishing you a great week!

Thank you for reading another zen Monday. ありがとうございました。

Every Monday is zen Monday. Always a weekly dose of Japanese ink painting coupled with one photo from my archives.

For more of my ink work in progress, follow the instagram account @mtenente


  1. healinghands231 Avatar

    Wow this is so amazing, I love the softness of the blue 👏🏽

    1. mtenente Avatar

      Thank you, it is one of my personal favorites in this Colombian bird series too.

    2. healinghands231 Avatar

      You’re most welcome, and I can see why 🙂

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