My Heart Skipped A Beat–I Feel So Honored!

Yesterday my heart skipped a beat when I opened my email and saw the subject matter “Best of America 2015 Jury Result”.  I thought to myself as I read the first paragraph–“Another rejection letter where they pump you up with the ‘exceptionally difficult decision’ they had to make . . .”  This is what it said–Continue reading “My Heart Skipped A Beat–I Feel So Honored!”

The Color White

I’ve slacked off on blog posts and feel so ashamed–not really.  Actually, sometimes I can only “create” so much and then my brain goes dead.  You do not want dead posts ;-).

In order to break the ice with my cyber friends who are not FB fans as well, I thought I’d present to you, The Three Stooges, or Awkward Egret Moments (My FB fans saw these in process).  I haven’t decided their title for sure, I’m leaning toward title #2.  This is a triptych, painted on three separate gallery wrap canvases, 24″x12″x2″.  These are detail photos–close-ups–of the actual paintings.

#1–Scratching an itch–detail of 24″x12″x2″ oil on gallery wrap canvas.
#2--Who Goes There?
#2–Who goes there?–detail of 24″x12″x2″ oil on gallery wrap canvas.
#3--Another itch--detail of 24"x12"x2"  oil on gallery wrap canvas
#3–Another itch–detail of 24″x12″x2″ oil on gallery wrap canvas

The paintings are actually just one bird.  I was out at the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge  just as the sun was rising this past winter and saw this beautiful bird.  For some odd reason it didn’t seem at all frightened of me sitting in my car, window rolled down with the heater fan running full-bore.  He or she just sat there, preening, prodding and posing.  I loved the way the light just glowed through it, along with the cool crisp colors.  I did get some beautifully elegant poses but wanted to show the awkward side of the bird as well.  So here you go.  The pictures of the paintings are taken with my cell phone, pretty accurate but not exact–but what is.  I had a blast with these paintings.  White is such an interesting color to paint–it’s one of those colors that looks white, even when it’s blue or orange or purple or, or, or.

Speaking of the color white, here is another example of the colors white takes on.  This still-life is called Reflecting on Garlic (I considered calling it Elephant Garlic but that seemed way too obvious).  Because of the browns and pinks surrounding it, as well as the light source, the whites took on much warmer hues.  This painting depicts one of my late mother-in-laws porcelain figures in action.  Here, he looks like he’s up to no good–his shadow is thinking about taking a bite out of the garlic–thus the name.  Okay, enough for tonight.  My brain has now shut off and it’s time to head to bed.  Good night all!  I think I’ll go “reflect” on the next piece I’m going to start tomorrow.

Reflecting On Garlic--8"x10" study in white
Reflecting On Garlic–8″x10″ study in white

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!

I’m on Vacation!!


At least I’m packed in with the snacks.
 Here I am, Orin Thology, yesterday morning, tucked away and ready to go to Orcas Island with Kara. We left at O’darkhundred–5 a.m. to catch the ferry in Anacortes at 10:35.  We pulled into lucky number lane 13 at exactly 10:08, loaded onto the ferry at 10:38 and arrived on Orcas Island just after noon. 

Of course I got left in the car while Kara went upstairs to enjoy the view and have a snack. I have been promised a chance to ride on the passenger deck on the way home. If you don’t see a picture of me you will know Kara either forgot to take me upstairs or is too ashamed of me and is leaving me in the car again. (Yes, I’m insecure!)


Me, sitting on the railing of our deck pointing out the sheep. Can you see them?
 It is beautiful in our little B&B. We are staying at Turtleback Farm Inn. Our room overlooks a beautiful pasture with grazing sheep, soaring Eagles and swooping swallows. Golden crowned sparrows flutter through the rhododendron bushes below our deck and lichen covered fencing lines the property.   We awoke to quiet and singing birds. (I’m used to highway noise where I live.)  As I write this I am overwhelmed by the sense of calm flooding through me and recharging me for a lovely hike to a lookout and a walk through the shops later on.  Kara and I will finish our day having fire baked pizza enjoying the company of fellow artists and contributors to the bird festival going on this weekend here in the island. Which reminds me, I’d better get off of this phone, it’s time to prepare for the hike–I’ll catch you later along with more photos of our bird and art filled trip.