Ducks Drying On My Easel

Preening ducks
Preening ducks

I THINK I’m done with this.  This is just a phone shot of the painting and as you can see there are reflections from the lights.  I will let it dry and check it out in different light, but currently, I’m inclined to step away from the canvas.

This has been a fun piece to paint.  It may not look like it, but I really loosened up on this painting and had some fun pushing the colors.  My brain is tired so I have nothing more to say but this, enjoy and have a great evening!  Oh, and if you have an idea for a title let me know.

A Picnic For a Stealthy Bird

Some of you may have thought that I, BW, no longer existed and that this blog was solely about the artist.  You’ll be happy to know that we have an adventure planned.  A picnic!

Here I am preparing to head out.

Preparing for a picnic adventure
Preparing for a picnic adventure with Great Blue Herons

My camera is packed, notepad on hand and a tablecloth to sit on, just in case its damp outside (personally I think we need a checkered tablecloth though–maybe Kara will listen to me on that).  The only thing missing is my bird book and food, but we plan to collect that when we get to the bird refuge.  We will catch creepy, crawly snakes, scurrying mice and flopping fish, all delicacies meant to entice a Great Blue Heron.  (Hopefully, Mr. or Mrs. Heron does not mistake me for food.)

During our picnic I will be collecting important information about Herons that I can pass on to you.  While studying the Heron in its habitat, we plan to get some good reference photos that Kara can use to replicate our picnic in a painting.  Our goal is to have the fourth painting in The Bird-Watcher series done by the end of April.  A lofty goal since this is going to be a big painting, but it is attainable…I have faith in her.  I’m sure she will keep you posted as this process progresses.

In closing–I thought you might like to see the ‘selfie’ I took last summer.

Selfie
Selfie

The Mighty Little Hummer

"Just Chillin'"
“Just Chillin'”

Melancholy.  That’s how I woke up this morning.  I can’t pinpoint any one thing that made me feel that way.  It just seemed there were “little” things nagging me, finances, how to build my business exposure, children, weather, my weight, etc.  Answer for melancholy, walk the dog.

Leave it to the birds to put everything in perspective.  Strolling along near an open field, watching my Retriever, intoxicated by the smells of rodent, bird and rabbit trails, weaving at breakneck speed through the tall grass, I stop, look up, and listen.  Chirp, chirp, chirp…warning sounds coming from somewhere.  Thinking I’d exhausted the search by scanning the entire area around me I notice a tiny little speck at the top of a leafless tree.  Not sure if I’d really spotted anything besides a baron branch, I step closer.  The “branch” chirps.  Repeating that several times, finally the hummer takes flight, leaving me to stare at that empty space, thinking about an experience I had this time last year with an Anna’s Hummingbird.

We had freezing to subzero weather for days and weeks on end.  One morning as the sun began to rise and the frozen branches of the dormant dogwood outside my window began to sparkle, I noticed a new little lump on a branch.  A few minutes earlier I’d hung out the thawed hummingbird feeder.  At some point one of our hummers had flown in, slurped up some nourishment and sat down to take in the beautiful sunrise, just as I was.  He had everything he needed and relaxed.

Before he flew I took some pictures of him with his tiny little feathers fluffed up into a dark green and grey, sometimes iridescent ball.  During the summer I was going through pictures on my computer and came across my little hummer picture and couldn’t resist painting his portrait.  Because I was in the midst of working on a painting of hummers for my Bird-Watcher series I was doing research on them and although I already was amazed by them the more I learned the more amazed I became.   Here are only a few of the facts I learned:  There are over 350 species of hummingbirds, all restricted to the Americas; their average lifespan is 3-12 years; their wings beat 50-200 flaps per second; their heart beats 1,200 beats per second; to conserve energy while sleeping they enter a state of torpor, hummingbirds spend from 10-15% of their time feeding, 75-80% of their time sitting and digesting.

How fearfully and wonderfully made this mighty little bird!  As a reminder to myself and anyone else who may be needing a boost out of their melancholy state, remember the lessons we can learn from these little birds…..Chill Out!  If God sees every little bird and its needs, how much more is He watching over us?

Nostalgia

Recently, I came in from my studio for a drink of water and noticed a group of birds at our feeders that I hadn’t seen in a couple of years.  I was so excited that I sent a text to my husband, “The Siskin’s are back, the Siskin’s are back!”  Observing them a few seconds longer I noticed something was wrong, they were way too calm and there were too few of them to be Siskins.  It was at that moment that I was reminded the very reason I was inspired to paint The Bird-Watcher series.Continue reading “Nostalgia”

It’s Been HOW Long Since I Posted Here?

We’ve all done it!  Had grand plans to do something creative and new and then splat, we fall on our faces.  Yep, I am guilty of doing that.  In fact, this blog is a perfect example.  Before I started this blog I had a ton of ideas, wrote a few down, explored what format I’d want and struggled with pros and cons of all the options, then finally, I got brave and moved forward.  After spending a while figuring out the system I made my first posts.  All was good then, ***poof***, all ideas disappeared into the clouds, just like many of my contacts and appointments on my calendar and other important items on my phone and computer when I’ve “upgraded” to a new format. “I got nothin'” seemed to be the only thought process for days, now weeks.Continue reading “It’s Been HOW Long Since I Posted Here?”

Should Fly’s Ride Bikes?

IMG_2343

I was peddling along a little over 17 MPH the other day, slight headwind in my face, when I noticed out of my peripheral a little black dot gaining on me. Next thing I know a happy little horse-fly buzzed past, leaving me in the dust. As I was still contemplating the fact that a fat little insect flying into the wind could pass me with such ease it dodged to the left and disappeared across the highway, possibly a hood ornament now….which reminds me, what’s the last thing to go through a flies mind when he hits a windshield?….drum-roll….It’s butt!

Okay, I digress. That joke always made the kids laugh, and me…

“Now there’s a lesson here I thought, but what?” As soon as I got home and showered I googled “horse- fly”, I wanted to see how fast they could fly. Shockingly, one site said they flew up to 90 mph, wow! Some cars won’t even let you go that fast, I’ve tried.  I love nature and the contemplation of it and there is often a lesson to be learned from it. Today what stood out was this, fly’s should not ride bikes. “Well duh, that’s a ridiculous thought!”,  I said to myself.  But then my mind wondered onto this little story.Continue reading “Should Fly’s Ride Bikes?”

Birds?…..Here’s Why. The Artist’s Side of the Story

“A . . . Albatross, your turn Howard.” Grandma announces.
“B . . ., Bobolink”, says Grandpa, “You get C Kara.”
I quickly reply, “Cardinal, your turn again Grandma.”
“D is for Dodo Bird,” Grandma laughs, “Now you, Howard.”
My grandparents and I are speeding west on I-84 from Eagle, Idaho to Walla Walla, WA. We have just completed a couple of weeks of sorting through their home of 40 years. Tokens of their life had been sold at a fraction of their sentimental value, cards and pictures of yesteryear reverently revisited, a farewell party with old and young paying their respect and tribute to the contributions they had made to their community and church family the past 50-some years, and now for the last time, it’s time to go.Continue reading “Birds?…..Here’s Why. The Artist’s Side of the Story”

An Unlikely Bird Watcher

It was early winter, 2010. I was sitting back taking in the sights, high up on a shelf filled with porcelain elephants, pine cones, old plates, marbles, doll heads, moss and so on, when I was picked up with curious purpose and roughly examined, head swiveled, legs and arms twisted and turned every which way. I was plopped down, stood up, bent over, and given the once over from every direction. Finally, I was inserted right in the middle of a still life scene with a hot light bearing down on me, as if I was about to be interrogated. Again, my assailant couldn’t decide, should I stand, sit, lean or bend over? My little wooden head was swirling with questions and my body was sore from all the activity after years of inactivity. What was I doing here? Then, just as my eyes were adjusting to the light and I’d developed a tolerance to the heat, in swooped a frenzied flock of little acrobatic, inquisitive, feisty, noisy and somewhat obnoxious Pine Siskins.Continue reading “An Unlikely Bird Watcher”