Home Again, Home Again, Jiggidy, Jig

What a fun trip to Orcas Island.  Kara is going to report on the trip further in her quarterly newsletter she is working on, but I wanted to tell you about a highlight of my trip.  As a new bird watcher I’m always excited to see birds that aren’t usually found where I live.  On Sunday morning, just as we were getting packed to leave, I noticed a Golden Eagle flying over the pasture below.  During breakfast Kara talked to the owner of the B&B about it.  Susan, the owner, was concerned that they’d lost a sheep.  She quickly ran to the window to look out but of course the sheep were nowhere in sight.

Then she proceeded to tell us a story that happened last summer.  They lost their favorite ewe.  Sadly, she’d tipped over on her back and could not get righted in time and suffocated.  Instead of burying her, Bill, Susan’s husband, laid it on the woodpile, which made for quite a show.  First the Bald Eagles came, then the Golden’s, then the Ravens and Vultures and crows.  It was picked apart in a few short hours.  As gruesome as that sounds, what a blessing it is to have scavenger birds that help keep the smell of decay down.  Not only do they provide a service, they are given life by the death of another.

The story was intriguing and prophetic to a degree.  We finished breakfast–I should say Kara did–packed the remainder of our belongings and headed out to catch the ferry for the first leg of our long drive home.  Coming around a bend about 1/4 mile from the B&B we saw the rustling of wings on the ground, big wings, all desperate to escape the oncoming car.  When the feathers had settled there was one brave bird left–the Golden Eagle I’d spotted earlier in the morning.  Undisturbed by us he meandered into the ditch for breakfast.

Golden Eagle watching over its breakfast.
Golden Eagle watching over its breakfast.

The remaining birds swirled around above us, eventually landing in a tree to the right.  There was a pair of Bald Eagles.  I didn’t get a real clear shot because I had to take it through my windshield, but here you can see one of them in the tree while a vulture flies by.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

Here are two of the hungry vultures that landed for a brief time–ultimately I believe there were five of them.  Having nothing to occupy their beaks they grew restless and took off until after I left.  Again, taken through my front windshield so not real clear.

Vultures, impatient for breakfast.
Vultures, patiently waiting for breakfast.

We were able to sit there for about five minutes watching and listening.  While the Golden Eagle was busying itself eating furry chunks of venison, the Bald Eagles were sitting up in the tree throwing their heads back and chirping loudly with their beaks wide open.  The vultures continued to ride the wind currents above us as the crows cawed from a distance.  The scavenging birds weren’t going to go hungry that morning, at least on this section of the island.

Gulping breakfast down, fir and all.
Gulping breakfast down, fir and all.

What a way to start the day, a feast for our senses as well.  Certainly not your every day sighting.

We made it onto the ferry and as promised, I got my picture taken, twice.  The first is me, sitting on a life-preserver and the second picture I look to be hula dancing, and so I was, with the islands as my background.  It was a little chilly out but before we went inside and the ferry departed, Kara was able to take a shot of the local dock birds.  The lowly seagull, another scavenger bird.  They are enjoying relaxing still–maybe they’d already had their breakfast of scraps.

Feeling safe on a life preserver.
Feeling safe on a life-preserver.
Hoola dancing--
Hula dancing–
Seagulls chillin' out.
Seagulls chillin’ out.

Landing in Anacordes we saw the last of the sea birds for the day.  After that is was just drive, drive, drive–oh, we also stopped at a gallery where Kara is going to begin displaying art, but there I go, telling her story.

Cormorants just sitting around.
Cormorants that have found their niches.

We arrived home early evening, unpacked the car and went outside to visit with our family members we’d missed while gone.  After resting up and catching up with things yesterday, I’m finally getting around to writing this blog.  I can’t wait for the next bird adventure.  Who knows, maybe it will be tomorrow.  We are heading to Silver Falls, OR to meet up with fellow artists and hopefully, I’ll get to see a bird or two, or three . . . and possibly get some good pictures as well.  Have a wonderful evening.  Don’t forget to watch for birds!

A Much Needed Update on The Birdwatcher

It’s time to break the long silence–this will be short because a newsletter will be sent out by Kara, the artist, very soon and a copy of it will be posted here.  However, I am too excited to make an announcement, I just can’t contain myself, so I’m going to spill the beans before the newsletter comes out.  “Look!  Flying Jewels!,”  the 3rd painting in The Bird Watcher series, of which I am the star–or possibly I’m just a supporting character in the painting–has been chosen to participate in two shows.  Last week Kara told me that she had received notification from the National Oil and Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS), that it was one of 150 paintings chosen to participate in their Spring On-line Show.    The show is currently up on their website:  http://www.noaps.org.

Information about the show--spread the word.
Information about the show–spread the word.

 

The other show I, I mean, the hummingbirds, are featured in is in the 1st Annual All Things Birds and Beautiful Show and Sale on Orcas Island.  I’m particularly exited about this show because all sales commissions go to helping bird habitat in the San Juans, particularly Orcas Island.  Kara and I will be heading up to the show opening VERY early on Thursday so we can catch the ferry by 10:45 a.m..  You can find all the details about the show as well as see all the beautiful art that is included in the show/sale at www.allthingsbirdsandbeautiful.org.  This should be a great opportunity to meet fellow wildlife and bird artists as well as wildlife/bird art collectors.  We, Kara and I, will also be doing some en plein air painting and photography while there.  Watch for pictures to follow. 😉

More to come from the artist, very soon!

Upcoming Shows–I’m Excited for the Future!

What a wonderful studio weekend, but I’m tired!  It hit me today.  However, I didn’t want to let another day go by without giving you an update.

I had about 40 people come through, several were new to my studio.  Besides having some sales I made wonderful contacts and more opportunity for my art to be displayed elsewhere.  I’m very excited about an opportunity to have a solo show at a gallery in Vancouver, WA (I’ll name the gallery when we’ve solidified details–thank you George and Nancy for the introduction).  The show will be in 2016 and hopefully, coinciding with the Duck’s Unlimited fund-raiser dinner the gallery owner is involved with.  A perfect match for my art.  Also, I received an invitation to apply for a couple of group shows in Gresham, OR (thanks Jill for passing my name along).

Not related to my studio tour, yesterday I received an email congratulating me on my piece “Look! Flying Jewels!,” (the 3rd painting in The Bird-Watcher series) being one of 58 pieces accepted into the All Things Birds and Beautiful Art Show and Sale on Orcas Island.  The show runs April 22-May 16, with the opening reception held April 27, at the Orcas Island Historical Museum in Eastsound, WA.

Look!  Flying Jewels!  36" x 24", oil on canvas. Accepted into All Thing Birds and Beautiful Art Sale and Show, on Orcas Island.
Look! Flying Jewels! 36″ x 24″, oil on canvas. Accepted into All Thing Birds and Beautiful Art Sale and Show, on Orcas Island.

This is the first annual show and sale and will benefit the arts and sciences of birds and their conservation.  I am particularly excited about this show because it benefits the very creatures I love to paint, birds.  My goal with my art is to awaken an interest in birds, their beauty and their habitats.  It’s a perfect fit and it’d be lovely if it sold and I was able to help benefit the avian world monetarily as well.

Also, Orcas Island holds a special place in my heart–it’s where my husband and I spent a week for our honeymoon 21 years ago and we haven’t been there since our kids were teenagers–a long time.  I’m looking forward to the trip.

Well, that’s all I have for now.  I think I may be ready to take a nap after all this writing.  Good night!

P.S.  I know you haven’t heard much about my store lately–I’ve been busy getting ready for competitions and my studio tour.  Hopefully it will be up and running in the next couple of weeks.  Keep watching–thanks!

Open Studio This Weekend–Welcome To My Studio–A Virtual Tour

Most of you who read this blog do not live nearby and can’t stop in and visit, so I’m bringing you a narrative, day in the life of, studio tour to you.

It is a beautiful day here in the Pacific NW.  I started my day doing my Doodling Devotional (which I post every morning at DoodlingDevotional@wordpress.com–shameless plug, I hate it when people do that!).  Then off to Lewisville Park with my dog, Bekkah, who meet a new golden retriever friend.  They romped around while I visited with the dog’s “parents.”  I love walking at Lewisville Park.  It’s a little like over the hill and through the dale, to grandmother’s house we go.  We start out walking a mile through the woods, which in the spring looks different every day.  It was as if the woods exploded into every shape, shade and texture of green, with a pop of pink salmon berry flowers here and there as well as a clump of Trilliums dotting the ground.  Then we’re down the hill and walking another 1 1/2 miles along the currently, rushing Lewis River.  It’s a feast for the senses–especially if you’re a dog.

Let’s get back home….studio tour days are unpredictable so I eat a couple fried eggs and a piece of toast, this had better hold me for a while.  Indeed it was a good idea because my next meal didn’t come until 3:45.  (We will have to be more prepared with snacks the next couple of days.)  The day started slow.  I had time to answer a few emails and catch up on things that I needed to do.  Around 11:30 everything changed.   My first group was ladies from the coffee shop (thanks for bringing them Linda–you know who you are), and it never ended till 5.  I had a blast seeing friends who drove an hour to get here and coworkers from a past life, as well as new friends from my gym.  It never ceases to amaze me that people would take time out of their day to come see what I do and to take such an interest in it.  I am most blessed!!!  Thank you everyone–wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.  You haven’t seen the tour yet.  The entry to my studio as you come into my driveway, and of course, the door going in.  (Don’t you love the welcoming, hand-written sign, oh, if you’re tall, duck your head coming in so you don’t hit the canopy.)

Welcome to Kara's studio.  I put a canopy here hoping people will realize they need to come here instead of my front door.
Welcome to Kara’s studio. I put a canopy here hoping people will realize they need to come here instead of my front door.
Please come in.
Please come in.

Several waves of friends and acquaintances flowed through today.  I have been pleased to see the interest people have taken in my plein air pieces.  It’s definitely time to paint more as several have found new homes. As you come into my garage/gallery/studio, this is the first thing you see.  Two of these pieces have found new homes.

First impressions--Bekkah, my dog taking a nap when she was a puppy and a few framed plein air pieces.
First impressions–Bekkah, my dog taking a nap when she was a puppy and a few framed plein air pieces.

I have painted several new bird paintings this year already and it has been fun to get a vote on the two that I should enter into an international show I’m hoping to be chosen to participate in.  This is my new last year “gallery” space.

So far the vote has been the "Territorial Dispute," the large painting and the American Bittern piece which is still under construction/wet.
So far the vote for the paintings to enter has been “Territorial Dispute,” the large painting and the American Bittern piece which is still under construction/wet.
"Evening Preen" is also a piece in the running for me to enter.  I'm interested in what everyone out there in computer land thinks.
“Evening Preen” is also a piece in the running for me to enter. I’m interested in what everyone out there in computer land thinks.

So far I’ve been standing in one place to take the last two pictures.  If you spin around to the right you will see that I’m set up to get some painting done–possibly tomorrow.  We’ll see if anyone comes.

Maybe I'll paint!
Maybe I’ll paint!

Now, let’s go into the inner sanctum–where that easel is usually set up–my studio.  It’s usually warm and cozy, music is playing (Hey, that’s what I forgot to do, turn on the music!) and the instant I come in I feel inspired.  To the right as you come in the door are two pieces I painted in a couple of workshops with William Cochran.  Teacher and artist extraordinaire!  This is where I learned about values and color and working with a VERY small pallet–the result, vibrant, harmonious paintings.  Thank you William.

Top painting done in black, white and sienna I believe. Lower painting was painting with primary colors plus black and white.
Top painting done in black, white and sienna I believe. Lower painting was painting with primary colors plus black and white.

Take two steps further and on the right is my desk where I am currently sitting and typing.  (I’m invisible and chairless–spell check says this isn’t a word–in this view.)

Above my desk is my wall of inspiration.  Lots of stories there.
Above my desk is my wall of inspiration. Lots of stories there.  Bekkah’s bed and my pretty tin garbage can that I LOVE!!  It was my mother-in-laws.  A real antique.  Oh, the desk and file cabinet were hers as well, just remembered.

Now, I’m sure you’re tired.  Have a seat in the chairs that used to be in the reception area where my husband works.  I did a little upgrading.  Behind them are my “barn door” display walls.  You don’t want to know what is behind them–actually, it’s blank canvases and supplies.  These are a few plein air pieces.  It’s a great way for me to have a place to set small wet paintings and enjoy them even after they dry.  Sorry about the glare.

Take a load off and visit.
Take a load off and visit.

While you’re sitting you can look at the other wall.  Here you will find a collection of reproductions of my first three in the Bird-Watcher series–what inspired the concept behind this blog.

A few things to look at while you relax.
A few things to look at while you relax.  If you’ll notice, under the drafting table is the prop I used for the hummingbird painting.  It was sitting up on the shelf where the poppies reside and I stood on a step stool to paint that painting so I could maintain the perspective. I had a light rigged behind the window to shine through onto the still life.

A little more to your left, more things to look at.  Two older pieces.

A couple of older paintings. The nest, "Waiting to Crack," is in acrylic, and the Beware painting is mostly done with my faux finish plasters, spray paint and chalk. The bird area I masked off so it would be smooth. This piece is called, "What City Birds Hate, Scary Graffiti."
A couple of older paintings. The nest, “Waiting to Crack,” is in acrylic, and the Beware painting is mostly done with my faux finish plasters, spray paint and chalk. The bird area I masked off so it would be smooth. This piece is called, “What City Birds Hate, Scary Graffiti.”

The tour is now coming to an end.  I am getting hungry again and should go eat and crash.  Thank you for taking the time to walk through my day with me.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  And, if you happen to be in the neighborhood, stop by.  I’m here tomorrow and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Progress and Priorities

Deadlines for shows, competitions and my open studio tour are looming.  I have to prioritize so the store is on hold–still putting in taxes and shipping.  I took some time to work on the amazingly busy Green Heron today.  WHAT WAS I THINKING when I chose to paint this!  There is so much going on in its feathers it took a while to be able to zone in on the pattern, where feathers begin and end and get the proper ratio and proportion.  Whew, I think I have all the major proportion changes made on its back (the head will get larger when I paint it).

Green Heron--midway done.
Green Heron–midway done.

I just wanted you to see that I am working. I won’t get back to this till Friday–spending the day with my granddaughter tomorrow–My plans, have this done by the end of the weekend so it can be put it away to dry.  Then get it back out for a final stare and touch up before photographing and entering in a competition.

Slowly But Surely . . .

Soft opening for my online store–KKM Artistry–is next week (Monday?)!  I’m embracing my inner snail, my ‘eye spots’ are on the goal as I inch my way toward the finish line.  If only the hurdle of technology weren’t in front of me.  Have you ever seen a snail jump?  Me either!  I’m making a run for it–pretending a bird is after me–check out the trail of smoke, I mean slime, I’m leaving behind.

Slow Moving Bird Food--12"x12", oil on gallery wrap canvas.
Slow Moving Bird Food–12″x12″, oil on gallery wrap canvas.

Have a great weekend everyone–see you on the other side.

And the Winner IS…

D r u m   r o l l   p l e a s e . . . I’m marrying two ideas so there are two winners–KKM Artistry–which comes from Karin, with the added tagline idea, Bird Watcher Collectables, which comes from Emily.  Congratulations to both of you!  Cards are coming your way–once you send me your address.Continue reading “And the Winner IS…”

One More Chance For You to Control My Blog Store Destiny

Wow, I had some excellent response in my quest for help in naming my online store, 19 in all.  Some of which I really like, but I’m curious to see what you would pick.  So, what I’d like from you are your top three favorites.  My main objective is to brand the store with my name and also the bird watching concept, so if someone is doing a search for me or for bird watching my blog or store will appear.  But, I don’t want to limit myself to birds either.  Do you see the dilemma I’m in?  Here’s the list–please vote 🙂  Voting closes on Tuesday and I will make my decision taking your votes into consideration.

  1. Fancy Feathers
  2. Art Refuge
  3. Birds-Life-Art
  4. Sweet Tweets
  5. Art From the Heart
  6. The Bird Watcher Store
  7. Feathered Paintbrush
  8. KKM Artistry
  9. On Wings of Hope
  10. Wings of Hope
  11. Bird in Hand
  12. Feather My Nest
  13. Feather Strokes
  14. KKM Fine Arts–Bird Watcher Collection
  15. Simply Art–KKM Collectables
  16. Serenity–Fine Art for the Soul
  17. Birds of a Feather
  18. Wild Wings
  19. McGhee’s Bees

Now for the unveiling of a piece I finished Friday–it’s a part of my looser collection and an experiment with a more monochromatic, restful pallet.

Morning Sunbather--Red winged blackbird--18"x24" oil on gallery wrap canvas
Morning Sunbather–Red winged blackbird–18″x24″ oil on gallery wrap canvas

Help Name My Store

My brain is dead!  Not necessarily a good time to try and make significant changes to a blog site but hey, I’ve got nothing else to do at the moment so why not create a store.  Yes, they make it sound simple, and it probably is, but currently, my biggest challenge is figuring out a fitting name for my store–and yes, I’ve ruled out ‘My Store.’  So I’m asking for help–HELP!  I need ideas for a store with bird related products with an emphasis on art, keeping in mind branding, bird-watching…

Here are the rules:

  • In the comments section or on my Facebook page, post your suggestion(s).
  • You are limited to 3 ideas–considering I can’t even come up with one, this seems excessive.
  • Deadline for suggestions is midnight Saturday, February 28.  (This sounds so official, but I’m a tough judge)
  • I will post my favorite options in a new blog post for voting–voting will close Tuesday, March 3 and the winner will be announced March 4.  (If you don’t see any post with names to vote on you will know that nobody really cared what I named my store and I received no suggestions.  If that’s the case I’ll just settle for something creative like, ‘My Store.’)
  • The winner receives a package of five different full-size note cards, each signed by non other then myself…shipping expenses on me as well.

    An example of one of the cards the winner will receive.
    An example of one of the cards the winner will receive.

In the meantime I will be uploading items to my storefront in preparation for the GRAND OPENING on Monday, March 9.  Hopefully that gives me enough time to figure this cyber store thing out.

All I have left to say is this–Ready…set…go…let the name ideas flow!

A Squawking Rookery

What beautiful weather we are enjoying here in the Northwest!  I am a little confused about the time of year it is right now–this is typically one of the coldest parts of the winter–and I think maybe the birds are confused as well.  Every time I’m out walking or hiking I’m hearing birds making mating calls.  This last Sunday, again in preparation for the next painting in The Bird-Watcher series, (subject matter–Great Blue Herons) we headed to ‘the bottoms’ in Woodland, WA, to see if the Great Blue Herons were nesting.  I was not disappointed!Continue reading “A Squawking Rookery”